Volume 15, Issue 2
Join us as we lead the charge: educators, parents, teachers, and researchers from two pioneering organizations meet in Atlanta, GA to change the course of gifted and STEM educations. As part of our Combined Professional Conference with the National Association for Gifted Children, presenters from NCSSSMST will offer over 70 sessions on working with talented students at the secondary level, with emphasis on looking past the AP level in STEM education with acceleration, rigor, and depth.
National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology
Take advantage of all that NCSSSMST and NAGC has to offer. Registration will be for both conferences, and there will be over 3,000 attendees. Registration begins June 1. Hope to see you there.
Consortium Board 2010-2011
Editor’s Page by Ron Laugen
President’s Message by Karen Pikula
Talent Development in STEM Disciplines: Sparking Innovators by Julia Link Roberts
Siemens Foundation and the STEM Challenge by Jeniffer Harper-Taylor
Negotiating the Path: The NCSSSMST Pre-Conference Symposium — A Milestone on Our Journey by Letita Mason
The Sky is Not the Limit: CVGS Students Reach for the Stars and So Can You! by Shannon Beasley
Assessing Differences in Students’ Experiences in Traditional versus Scientific Teaching-Based Biology Course by Sarah O’Leary and Susan C. Styer
Technology Focus: Enhancing Learning of Limits of Functions with Dynamic Sketches by Beth Cory and Joe Garofalo
Arts Corner by Arthur S. Williams
Affiliate Spotlight: Nashville Reflections by Jill Sifuentes
Solar Hydrogen Fuel Cell Projects at Brooklyn Tech by Alumni and Students at Brooklyn Technical High School
Student Research Across NCSSSMST
KAREN PIKULA, President Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology (MI) MARY ANN SUDDETH, Vice President Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology (GA) HEATHER SONDEL, Secretary Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (VA) LAURA LAKE, Treasurer Center for Advanced Technologies (FL) JERALD THOMAS, Past President Aurora University (IL) CHERYL LINDEMAN, Executive Director Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology CLAIRE BARRETT Liberal Arts and Science Academy (TX) CRYSTAL BONDS Brooklyn Technical High School (NY) SUSAN CAFFERY Academy of Science and Technology (TX) HUNGSIN CHIN Alabama School of Fine Arts NICOLE CULELLA Brooklyn Technical High School (NY) BRENDA PRATER EARHART Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (MI) MARK GODWIN South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics TIM GOTT The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science (KY) ROSEMARIE JAHODA The Bronx High School of Science (NY) CHRISTOPHER KOLAR Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy LETITA MASON North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics MIKE REIDY North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics JILL SIFUENTES Illnois Institute of Technology GARVIN WATTUHEWA Alabama School of Mathematics and Science SHARON WEBB Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (VA)
Journal Reviewers MARION BRISK North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics KAREN GLUMM North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics DR. PETER KISH Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics DR. JOHN KOWALSKI Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Science and Technology DR. DAVID LAMBERT Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts DR. MARTIN SHAPIRO, RETIRED Center for Advanced Technologies (FL) DR. AMY SHENK North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics DR. JERALD THOMAS Aurora University (IL) DR. GARVIN WATTUHEWA Alabama School of Mathematics and Science Educators at member schools and affiliate colleges and universities interested in serving on the Journal review team, please contact Ron Laugen at email@example.com for details.
NCSSSMST Journal is the official publication of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology. Editorial Office: Central Virginia Governor’s School 3020 Wards Ferry Rd. Lynchburg, VA 24502 (434) 582-1104 (434) 239-4140 (fax) 2009-2010 STAFF Dr. Ron Laugen, Editor NCSSSMST Program Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Jerald “Jay” Thomas, Co-Editor Aurora University email@example.com Dr. Steve Warshaw, Associate Editor North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Cheryl Lindeman, Business Manager Executive Director NCSSSMST Central Virginia Governor’s School email@example.com Lynne Eccard Graphic Designer Elizabeth Templin Communication Assistant NCSSSMST.org
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Dr. Thomas Morgan, Founding Editor Dr. Arthur S. Williams, Past Editor Dr. Martin Shapiro, Past Editor Dr. Richard W. Shelly, Past Associate Editor Gary L. White, Past Co-Editor The NCSSSMST Journal (ISSN 1084–6522) is published twice a year in May and November. Copyright ©2010 by the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST). All rights reserved. Editorial material published herein is the property of the NCSSSMST unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed in the NCSSSMST Journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the NCSSSMST. Permissions: Copyrighted material from the NCSSSMST Journal may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes provided full credit acknowledgements and a copyright notice appear on the reproduction. Other requests for reprinting should be directed to the Business Manager. Submissions: Manuscripts for feature articles and teacher practice summaries are invited. Author guidelines are found at www.ncsssmst.org>publications>journal. The NCSSSMST Journal assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. Student research papers are encouraged. Web site: www.ncsssmst.org Postmaster: Send address changes and subscription requests to the NCSSSMST Journal, Central Virginia Governor’s School, 3020 Wards Ferry Road, Lynchburg, VA. 24502 Subscriptions: Individual subscription price is $50.00 per year US dollars and $75.00 per year for international subscriptions with postage at an additional cost. Institutional Pricing is available by contacting NCSSSMST. Selected back issues are available for $15.00. Advertising: Request information on advertising in the Journal from the Business Manager.
Editor’s Page By Dr. Ron Laugen The 2010 NCSSSMST Professional Conference in Nashville has come and gone and, by all accounts, it was a marvelous success. Congratulations and thanks to all the presenters and speakers. In this issue of your NCSSSMST Journal, our new President, Karen Pikula, exhorts teachers to join the digital age and our columnists highlight some of what was experienced and learned at the conference. In her column on STEM talent development, Dr. Julia Roberts, one of our 2010 Conference presenters, discusses why innovation is important in today’s society and how our specialized STEM schools can impact the next generation of innovators. The 2010 Conference participants were privileged to hear from Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, the newly appointed president of the Siemens Foundation, one of the conference sponsors. We are pleased to include her remarks about her foundation’s vision and the many STEM initiatives that it sponsors, not only for high school students but also for students of all ages and teachers as well. Letita Mason of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics writes this issue’s Negotiating the Path article, reporting on the preconference Diversity Symposium in Nashville. The symposium stimulated dialog among speakers and participants wanting to ensure that Consortium schools use models that foster increased diversity in their schools and, ultimately, in STEM fields. We especially value the opportunity to publish contributions by NCSSSMST teachers. Shannon Beasley of the Central Virginia Governor’s School makes a pitch for getting students involved with local universities and colleges to assist with basic research in astronomy. Sarah O’Leary and Susan C. Styer of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy describe research they have done to better understand their students as they implement
a biology teaching innovation – Scientific Teaching. This issue’s Technology Focus column looks to be relevant to math teachers. Drs. Beth Cory and Joe Garofalo present several new ideas on how to use mathematical symbolism on the graphing calculator to enhance the learning of limits of functions. Then there is Arts Corner, our new name for Dr. Arthur Williams’ humanities column. Dr. Williams shares research he has been reading on the impact of technology on brain processing. Empathy and deep reading skills seem to be areas of concern to neuroscientists and should be to us as well.
Ron Laugen, Ph.D., is Editor of this issue of the NCSSSMST Journal and a past president of NCSSSMST. He retired in 2007 as Headmaster Our new Board member representing affiliates is Jill of the Conroe ISD (TX) Academy Sifuentes from the Illinois Institute of Technology. of Science and Technology, where he served for 16 years. She relates her 2010 Conference experiences to President Obama’s Educate to Innovate Campaign for Excellence in STEM Education – reminding us of the both the challenges and importance of our specialized school work. Students and alumni at Brooklyn Tech report on their ongoing research and engineering initiative, funded by the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Research Foundation, that utilizes solar-based fuel cells to power a variety of unique machines – some aspects of which are being considered for patents. Read the twenty-seven abstracts of student research and you will have a good idea of the kind of student research that is going on at NCSSSMST member schools from grades nine through twelve. It is clear that students from our schools are ready to continue doing research as undergraduates as well. Finally, we are seeking contributions to the Fall 2010 Journal – a special issue to be devoted to diversity and inclusion in our member STEM schools. Potential contributors should contact Ron Laugen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Submission deadline is September 15, 2010. Spring 2010 5
President’s Message Karen Pikula During the January 2010 Board of Directors meeting hosted by the Florida Institute of Technology, Dr. Hamid Rassoul, Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and founder of their Space Sciences Program, said, “We have 21st-century students, we are 20th-century educators, we have 19th-century infrastructure.” Our students are digital natives. Their lives involve ways of communicating many of us only begin to utilize. How can we change our methods and practices to provide learning opportunities appropriate to our digital natives? Karen Pikula is Mathematics and Science K12 Teacher Leader for the Dearborn MI Public Schools and current president of NCSSSMST.
I invite your comments at PikulaK@dearborn.k12.mi.us.
Dr. Julie Hudson of Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine gave us one example during our 2010 Professional Conference in Nashville. Vanderbilt runs a pilot program in rural Arkansas for groups of students who must spend many hours weekly on a school bus. Their buses are wired to receive Internet and the students use laptops or PDAs to learn while they are traveling. Courses are video streamed, teachers are available live to answer questions, and there is a student techie on board each bus to troubleshoot any problems. Here’s another idea. Many NCSSSMST schools are in old buildings that are not technologically equipped. So reach out to a local college or university. Would they make video conferencing available so your students can communicate with each other and perhaps with researchers? Finally, Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, is working on an opportunity for students to have their research electronically published on a peer-reviewed site. More information will be available soon. Changes to NCSSSMST The NCSSSMST Board of Directors led by former president Dr. Jay Thomas spent the past two years in strategic planning. Our resulting vision is to serve as a catalyst for transforming education by empowering students, teachers, and communities to meet the demands of a technologically advanced world.
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Involvement of the professionals at our member schools is necessary to fulfill our vision. Joining a committee that communicates online through virtual meetings and shared documents allows you to become active and share your talents. We have an online forum at NCSSSMST.org to discuss curriculum and STEM issues. Are you using it? It is one opportunity to help improve teaching and learning. Our annual Professional Conference is moving to late fall because you have suggested that you want more time to apply what you learn. The Board of Directors has accepted an offer for 2010 from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) to join them at their annual conference in Atlanta in November. The NAGC conference is very strong for preK to eighth grade and so they are looking to us to share our expertise in secondary STEM education. We will hold our pre-conference workshops and affiliate activities as usual. Our program committee will be working closely with NAGC to create a blended conference that will offer outstanding professional development experiences for all of us. This change has then led us to consolidate the Student Conference and Research Symposium. These two events have merged into one, being hosted by an Affiliate Member on its campus. Students will have additional opportunities to continue their discussions with each other through virtual meetings hosted by members. The Liberal Arts and Science Academy of Austin (TX) will start this fall’s meetings on specific STEM topics. Let me know if you have any special talents you want to share as a committee member. Look over the Connecting Consortium Professionals forum and share your best practices in STEM education. Get your students involved in summer opportunities offered by our affiliates and partners. Embrace what the 21st Century has to offer and share your love for learning with all those around you.
Talent Development in STEM Disciplines: Sparking Innovators By Julia Link Roberts, Ed.D., Western Kentucky University Editor’s note: This is the second installment by our newest columnist. Dr. Roberts invites reactions, questions, and suggestions at email@example.com. What role can specialized schools with a focus on mathematics, science, and technology have in sparking innovation? Such specialized schools can be and in some cases currently are leaders in promoting high-level content knowledge, creative and critical thinking, and problem solving – the basic ingredients of innovation. However, it is not a “given” that innovative thinking will be encouraged and promoted in these or other educational settings. In a speech at the recent NCSSSMST Conference (2010) Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation, stated that specialized secondary schools are “impacting the next generation of innovators.” What a tremendous responsibility and an awesome opportunity! Let’s discuss why and how our schools can impact the next generation of innovators. What is so important about innovation in today’s society? Simply put, innovation fuels the economy. In a time of economic downturn, it is very clear how innovation can lead to recovery in our local, state, and national economies. Innovations – new ideas – create jobs. Innovative people are needed if the United States is to continue to be competitive in the global economy. Florida (2005) writes, “…it is by no means our nation’s manifest destiny to stay on top. To remain innovative, America must continue to attract the world’s sharpest and most creative minds. And to do that, it needs to invest in the further development, from both internal and external sources, of its talent base. Because wherever talent goes, innovation, creativity, and economic growth are sure to follow.” Innovation America: Building a Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math Agenda (2007), a report released by the National Governors Association, focuses on the importance of innovation in today’s world. “In the new global economy, states need a workforce with the knowledge and skills to compete. A new workforce of problem solvers, innovators, and inventors who are self-reliant and able to think logically is one of the critical foundations that drive innovative capacity in a state.” Please remember that leaders in your state, legislators, and your governor are very interested in economic development. Keep them apprised of your school’s role in developing innovative professionals who can shape the economic future of your state as well as the nation. This is a selling point for the work that you do in your specialized school with a focus on STEM disciplines. Ideas are and have always been the basis of innovation, but today new ideas are creating change at a more and more rapid pace. National Public Radio announces, “all music was once new” and the same can be said about ideas. The key is to put ideas together in new ways. Surely, an individual that all of us will recognize as an innovator is Bill Gates. Gates said that “[Smart] is an elusive concept. There’s a certain sharpness, an ability to absorb new facts. To ask an insightful question. To relate to domains that may not seem connected at first. A certain creativity that allows people to be effective.” This quote highlights the value of seeing ideas in new combinations, allowing for new possibilities. Remaining open to new ideas is an essential step in the creative process. But this doesn’t just happen on its own. Specialized schools should foster such an approach by deliberately teaching and expecting the integration of critical and creative thinking into learning.
Dr. Julia Link Roberts is Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies and Executive Director of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. Spring 2010 7
Undoubtedly, innovators have strong knowledge bases. It is not possible to be creative in a content area in which one has a limited background. In Outliers (2008), Malcolm Gladwell states that 10,000 hours are required for being truly exceptional in one’s field. Of course, students in specialized schools won’t be able to accumulate that number of hours, but they can get a good start on developing their expertise. It is also important that students develop a variety of perspectives and that these different perspectives come from interests and knowledge in more than one content area. One of the things that specialized secondary schools do well is provide opportunities for students to learn content at complex and advanced levels. That is certainly a key step in innovation, but a step that must be accompanied by creative thinking. “From an economic point of view, creativity is a form of capital – call it ‘creative capital’ (Florida).” Creativity can be fostered in schools or it can be stifled, unintentionally but stifled nonetheless. Creative thinking doesn’t develop in a vacuum but rather it must be seen as a goal within a school that fosters new ideas and welcomes insightful questions. Creativity must be made a priority within the curriculum of classes at schools specializing in STEM disciplines if creative thinking is to be a hallmark of the graduates. In what ways might specialized schools plan and implement opportunities to encourage creativity and innovation? (1) RESEARCH. Opportunities for research are abundant in our schools. Encouraging more and more students to avail themselves of research opportunities is a starting point. Having a staff member responsible for coordinating research opportunities is necessary in order to maximize the pairing of students with mentors and locating opportunities within and outside of the school. Research engaged in throughout the academic year can be enriched by summer research opportunities that extend learning and open the possibility of focusing full time on the research – something not possible during the academic year. Research requires thinking about a topic in new ways and being open to unintended discoveries. Research can 8 NCSSSMST Journal
be individual or conducted with a mentor, a partner, or a team. It can also lead to national and international competitions that bring recognition to the individuals and to the school. Other opportunities for students come from presenting research at conferences and publishing the results. (2) CREATIVITY. Making known to the teachers/professors that creativity is an important goal in STEM talent development. Unless the staff and faculty are working together to encourage creative thinking, creativity may get lost in the everyday routine of school. It is quite possible that the focus is strictly on facts; and, although a knowledge base is essential, it is also important that students are expected to apply their creative and critical thinking skills to that knowledge rather than strictly be able to provide the facts. Innovation is far too important to our future to allow that to happen. Perhaps professional development on strategies to promote creative thinking would be a valuable next step in making creativity a visible part of the curriculum. Each teacher must have a plan to embed creativity into his/her existing classes. Our schools also can provide seminars on creativity and bring entrepreneurs to share their experiences and to highlight the role of innovation in their work. (3) EXTRACURRICULARS. Offering extracurricular opportunities with a focus on creative thinking can be key to sparking interest in innovation. Some examples of those extracurricular activities are Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination as well as competitions in engineering, mathematics, and science. Staff and volunteers can sponsor and guide various extracurricular opportunities. For example, Amanda Beers, a student at Western Kentucky University, has been the sponsor for the Odyssey of the Mind (OoTM) teams at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky. Amanda describes why this experience is a perfect match for Academy students: “Odyssey of the Mind is a great compliment to the curriculum offered at STEM-based schools, because it allows students to explore and develop a variety of aspects of their potential. Students discover that instead of having to abandon their creativity, it can become their greatest asset in establishing a successful
career in the sciences. OoTM allows students to work on testing and implementing their own designs, instead of being restricted to meeting the criteria set forth to earn a grade on a class project. Most importantly OoTM instills the essential importance of teamwork and collaboration on the regional, national, and international level that will prove vital for success in any career.” Whether it is OoTM or the Society for Automotive Engineers’ Collegiate Design Competition, activities that promote creativity and ignite innovation are critical in specialized schools. Success in STEM fields of study in postsecondary education and the launching of STEM careers depend upon early and continuous development of talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Part of that development is the ability to think creatively and critically. This is too important to be left to chance. We must purposefully incorporate learning about creativity and innovation into the student experience. Moreover, we must afford students ongoing opportunities to practice and hone these skills. Too much of their futures as well as the future of our states and nation depend on doing so. Take the example of Brian Bell and Nathan Knutson, University of Minnesota engineering students who are a part of Engineers Without Borders (2010). This humanitarian organization is currently focusing on Haiti, specifically the huge amounts of garbage covering the island after the earthquake. They have developed a portable solar cooker able to melt plastic garbage, and then that liquid is molded into useful products such as sports gear and sandals – a highly innovative solution to a massive problem. This example demonstrates what can happen when a rich knowledge base and problem-solving skills are coupled with creative and critical thinking. Innovation!
your responsibility to make the connections for decision-makers in your state between talent development in the STEM disciplines, innovation, and economic development. Don’t assume that someone else will do that for you. Resources Bell, B. (2010). Engineers Without Borders. Retrieved from http://www.discover.umn.edu /featuredDiscoveries/goodGarbage.php Florida, R. (2005). The flight of the creative class: The new global competition for talent. New York, NY: HarperCollins. Gates, B. Retrieved from http://thinkexist.com/quotes/bill_gates/ Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. Harper-Taylor, J. (2010, March). Panelists challenge NCSSSMST educators. Speech presented at the annual conference of National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Science, Mathematics and Technology. National Governors Association (2007). Innovation America: Building a science, technology, engineering and math agenda. Retrieved from www.nga.org/Files/pdf/0702INNOVATIONStem.pdf
One closing point to remember is that our specialized schools can make a tremendous economic impact in our states and the nation. That is a selling point for specialized schools – legislators are always interested in the future and seeing specialized schools as economic assets (which they are) is vital to building support for new schools and for continuing our schools. It is Spring 2010 9
Siemens Foundation and the STEM Challenge By Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, Siemens Foundation Editor’s Note: The following article is adapted from remarks made by Ms. Harper-Taylor at the 2010 NCSSSMST Professional Conference Saturday Plenary Session on STEM Education. NCSSSMST appreciates Siemens Foundation’s sponsorship of the Plenary Session.
For more than 12 years, the Siemens Foundation has found unique ways to partner with organizations to support educational initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the United States. Our focus is clear – to educate the next generation of innovators by supporting math and science education from grade school to grad school ….and ultimately to boost US competitiveness. To our delight, it seems that more of us are seeing how the dots are connected and how a dedication to science advancement from the early stages really benefits all of us.
Our longest partnership of more than 12 years is with the College Board, which administers the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement and the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Since 1998, the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement has recognized outstanding students and teachers in all 50 states to foster AP interest in and commitment to STEM subjects. Each year, governors, senators and congressman honor their achievements with recognition ceremonies and letters of congratulations – this goes a long way towards showing local, state and national support for their hard work in STEM.
We provide more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in STEM areas in the United States. What makes our foundation unique is that our long-term interest involves more than financial support; we provide innovative programs that help our youth develop a lifetime of interest that will possibly develop into future STEM careers. This has a tremendous impact on teaching and learning because we are providing key resources and support along with a vision for the future. Here’s what we aim to do: support outstanding students; recognize teachers and schools that inspire their excellence; and help nurture tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. Although we’ve heard more about STEM in recent months, our commitment is not new. As you all know, the White House recently launched the “Educate to Innovate” campaign to motivate students to excel in STEM subjects. This is a wonderful initiative. Although we have many great schools, excellent teachers, and successful students in America, there are also signs that overall, students need to do better in math and science.
Jeniffer Harper-Taylor was appointed President of the Siemens Foundation in March 2010. She oversees the Foundation’s daily management and signature programs that support, recognize and encourage the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. 10 NCSSSMST Journal
The Siemens Foundation has provided millions of dollars in funding throughout its history in support of STEM education. Our interest as the nonprofit arm of Siemens, the global engineering company, is to do our part to inspire the next generation of innovators scientists who will change the world. Its part of the DNA of the company and integral to what we do. This is a huge undertaking, yet an incredibly rewarding one, and we’ve strategically aligned with partners with mutual interests and goals to help us achieve this. Some of our key educational outreach partners include: The College Board, Discovery Education, National Science Teacher Association and Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Our ultimate goal is to establish a renewed culture of innovation within the U.S., combining resources from academia, government and the private sector —with Siemens Foundation leading the way – and we believe that this will help drive the ideas of tomorrow.
The Siemens Competition is America’s premier science research competition for high school students with scholarships and awards ranging from $1,000 to a grand prize of $100,000. It is the only true national science research competition, where students are judged purely on research – grades and extracurricular activities are not considered. This gives a true focus on STEM unlike many other STEM competitions. We’ve also partnered with six leading research universities to host the regional competitions. Let me share with you the impact of what these students accomplish. Last year’s grand prize winner researched a way to develop a more complete understanding of how Taxol functions to kill tumor cells. The winning team advanced the infrastructure and knowledge of graph theory, shedding light on a problem that’s been open in the mathematics community since 1978. We also have the resources to share the their stories nationwide. These teenage whiz kids have been featured on USA Today, the NY Times, CNN, and many more outlets. The media help to advance these incredible stories each time these students win, and by doing so, more students and parents are tuned into these fields. Those are two of our most recognized signature programs, which primarily reward high achievers. Recently, we decided to stretch our boundaries to increase our outreach even further. Especially at this critical time for STEM education – we needed to find more ways to develop and reward talent that will make our nation more competitive globally, and do our part to position the U.S. to maintain its edge in innovation. We also recognized that we needed to leverage technology to empower and engage teachers and students in science education and to reach a broader demographic. Let me give you an example of our most recent programs involving multiple partnerships to achieve this goal. The Siemens STEM Academy, just launched in February, will inspire and engage educators from across the country with hands-on and multimedia professional development opportunities that will ultimately improve STEM education for students nationwide.
The Siemens STEM Academy involves the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and The College Board. It is a nationwide initiative to support educators in their efforts to foster student achievement in STEM education. We’ll be able to facilitate the first on-line shared repository of STEM best teaching practices, a national teacher academy bringing together science educators from across the country, and an ongoing webinar series featuring leading scientists and experts in their fields. Another program launched more than a year ago is The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a partnership with Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and NSTA. Our mission is to educate, empower and engage students, teachers and communities in sustainability. This is an unprecedented partnership between a major corporation, media company and an association to advance student achievement in science and sustainability through a national and comprehensive K-12 sustainability competition. Let me give you an example of how this partnership has advanced teaching and learning nationwide through a grassroots effort. Last year’s grand prize winning team, a group of 12-year-olds from Iowa, decided to get the word out about the dangers of lead wheel weights in vehicles and to help to phase out this hazardous material in the tire industry. This initiative started locally and grew to have a national impact. This group of Iowa students presented their research to their city council, community school district and other civic organizations. The community was convinced and agreed to phase out lead wheel weights in vehicles owned by the city and school district. In addition, the students teamed up with several Iowa legislators to develop three bills proposing to phase out the harmful metal. The team met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the President’s science and technology czar Dr. John P. Holdren, and
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson just a few months ago. As a result of their efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would reverse its previous position and begin the process of writing rules to ban lead wheel weights in tires. Through this program, we provided a venue for these students and hundreds like them to achieve their goals, starting locally and potentially expanding globally. Another program is Siemens Science Days, which offers parents and teachers free downloadable science experiments developed by Discovery Education. These experiments are popular among educators nationwide. We’ve reached more than 54,000 elementary and middle school students in 36 states since the program’s inception in 2006. In fact, we’ve even found a way to integrate these experiments into our Siemens Teacher Scholarship program, a program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund that provides scholarships to students enrolled in the nation’s public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These students are specifically pursuing teaching careers in STEM. Our Siemens Teacher Scholars conduct a Siemens Science Day as part of their scholarship requirements and many report that this is their first opportunity to teach in the classroom. The innovative experiments cover earth science, life science and physical science using easyto-find and affordable materials. We offer videos and tools to help teachers reinvent and reenergize their science classes. What I presented is just a snapshot of what we are committed to achieving. This is just the beginning for the Siemens Foundation. We know that the next 10 -15 years will bring even more opportunities to reach more students and educators. The key for us is being flexible and adaptable to meet the challenges and respond to students and educators in ways that best inspire them to engage in these fields not just for a year or two, but for a lifetime.
Plenary Speakers at the 2010 Nashville Professional Conference. Left to right: Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, Siemens Foundation, Keivan Guadalupe Stassun, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Gary A. Laursen, Ph.D., Academy of Applied Science
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Negotiating the Path: The NCSSSMST Pre-Conference Symposium — A Milestone on Our Journey By Letita Mason, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of Negotiating the Path, coordinated by Letita Mason. The Fall 2010 issue of The NCSSSMST Journal will be dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Ideas for the fall issue and for future columns, contributions, and feedback may be sent to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2010 NCSSSMST Pre-Conference Symposium in Nashville, Diversity: Negotiating the Path, was the culmination of initiatives begun two years ago by the Diversity Committee of the NCSSSMST Board. Inspired by the ground-breaking campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, members recognized within each candidate a symbolic example of what we ultimately hope to achieve: a nation that is strengthened and globally competitive because we are closing the achievement gap that disproportionately impacts women and minority youth. The Symposium marked a significant milestone toward achieving that vision. The focus of the Symposium was on ensuring that Consortium members remain at the forefront of increasing diversity in STEM fields. Building on sessions from past conferences, the committee wanted to increase opportunities for member school professionals to interact. Framing the Discussion Dr. Joseph Whittaker, Dean of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Morgan State University in Baltimore, and President-elect of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, keynoted the Symposium.
Letita Mason is Director of Admissions at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. 12 NCSSSMST Journal
Morgan State University, an HBCU with a pool of highly talented minority students, is partnering with Johns Hopkins University to ensure that a pipeline of under-represented students is prepared for graduate study. Whittaker’s work on behalf of African-American males has led to an increase in the number of MSU students accepted into the Johns Hopkins medical school.
Dr. Whittaker outlined his approach for developing partnerships that bring about greater inclusion and diversity in STEM career programs. “There are no minorities in the applicant pool” is used as a default argument to justify lack of student diversity, he said. He offered the following in response to the resignation many educators express related to diversity initiatives. • Programs are unlikely to admit and graduate minority students unless a proactive stance is taken. • Do SAT’s & GRE’s accurately predict minority student success or do they simply fall in line with traditional guidelines for enrollment that translate into traditional populations being enrolled? • Programs need to match admissions criteria with the credentials needed for success. • Programs have to recruit where there are significant pools of minority students. Dismantling & Deconstructing According to Dr. Forrest Toms, Professor of Leadership Studies at North Carolina A&T University and President/CEO of Training Research Development, Inc., reframing the discussion around shared community and national interests helps redirect conversations in ways that support increased diversity, inclusion, and equity. Negotiating the path toward diversity and inclusion can be a trail littered with minefields that must be delicately dismantled. We bring our own cultural and contextual mores to the task of diversity training. Exploring and understanding our individual points of reference help foster an environment of acceptance, awareness,
and understanding, thereby yielding greater cooperation among stakeholders. Toms provided a framework for approaching diversity issues that results in productive and sustainable outcomes. Diversity workshops are best undertaken with participants having identified their personal belief system, ideas and ideals, assumptions, actions, and values. From Intention to Action Dr. Al Church is Principal and CEO of the Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (AMES) in Salt Lake City, which serves nine diverse school districts and a charter school. AMES employs admissions criteria targeted at increasing the number of underserved ethnic minority and female students pursuing course work, advanced study, and possible STEM careers. It is an active member of the Utah and national Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) network, a curriculum partnership that provides leadership, vision, and advocacy so that all students have educational opportunities designed to meet their potential and achieve competency. Church discussed the leadership role in changing power dynamics, described the challenges leaders face when championing change, and the positive benefits reaped when change works. Recruitment, Retention and Research Dr. George Hill is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Dean for Diversity in Medical Education at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Hill has a strong record of creating opportunity and access in STEM education as chair of the National Science Foundation Committee for Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering and has been recognized as a Giant in Science by Quality Education for Minorities. Hill asserts the importance of looking beyond traditional measures for recruitment and retention. He works in partnership with two local Nashville HBCUâ€™s, Fisk University and Meharry Medical College, to cultivate the talent of minority students.
From left to right: Will Perkins, Dr. George C. Hill, Dr. Al Church, Dr. Joseph A. Whittaker, Dr. Forrest Toms, and Tanya Vickers.
Will Perkins, Director of the Center for Precollege Programs at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, emphasized the role that precollege programs play in providing sustainable educational enrichment for under-represented students. Perkins proposed that inclusion of targeted populations in STEM-related programs helps students develop a curiosity about the world around them. Tanya Vickers, Research Coordinator at AMES, demonstrated fun and engaging ways to peak student interest in research. By encouraging students to consider concepts within their realm of experience, Vickers crafts research projects from seemingly random student interests such as baseball, swimming, and differences in hearing among males and females. Congratulations The committee was inspired in its work when Plenary Session keynote speaker Jennifer HarperTaylor, then Vice-President of the Siemens Foundation, was announced as their new President and CEO. Congratulations Ms. Harper-Taylor for your exemplary leadership in promoting research, scholarship, and diversity within STEM fields. We also salute the Siemens Foundation for demonstrating visionary leadership in breaking down barriers to diversity and inclusion.
Spring 2010 13
The Sky is Not the Limit: CVGS Students Reach for the Stars and So Can You! By Shannon Beasley, Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology Editor’s Note: If you are currently participating in an astronomy collaboration, or are interested in starting one, the author would like to discuss research possibilities with you. Please contact her at email@example.com. As I began my teaching career at CVGS, it became apparent that many of my students were interested in doing research projects in astronomy and the number seemed to increase every year. At first I did not think that I had the tools to do a good job accommodating these interests. But what seemed impossible then was not going to remain that way for long. All it would take was collaboration. Two years ago, my female students and I traveled to the University of Virginia’s Astronomy Observatory for the annual graduate student series hosted by Women in Math and Science (WIMS). Some very enthusiastic astronomy graduate students presented their research using a wonderful array of slides. They discussed fields I’d not heard of, like astrobiology and astrochemistry, and I learned that one could study an area far removed from our solar system. I also found out that Rachael Beaton, an alumna of CVGS, was a grad student in the UVA Astronomy Department and had actually discovered a galaxy! The combination of the WIMS group and having a contact helped start our collaboration the UVA Astronomy Department. But you don’t need to have a special event or an
Shannon Beasley, M.S., is Research Instructor at the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology in Lynchburg.
Astronomy Website Astrobiology Astrophysics and Astrochemistry lab at NASA Ames Research Center Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Lunar Institute for Educators NASA Education SAO Image DS9: Astronomical Data Visualization Application Table 1
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alumni connection to begin this kind of collaboration in your school. In fact, several UVA astronomers told my students that there is so much data literally “sitting on shelves” that many labs would love for high school students to work with them. For example, one UVA astronomy lab has a large collection of images from their Spitzer Space Telescope Survey of the Vela-Carina Galaxy study. So they invited two of my juniors to help them analyze data. A third junior, intensely interested in black holes, was also connected with data from a lab. There are many ways that students can to analyze astronomy images and data sets. One of the most user-friendly ways is to use DS9 - open source software available for free download on the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) website (Table 1). Once you find an institution willing to collaborate, they need to provide you with images that can be transformed into the type that are used with this software. The raw telescope file images we obtained from the Vela-Carina study had to be converted to Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) images in order to work with the DS9 program. The grad URL http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/ http://www.astrochem.org http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/education/ http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/lunarinstitute/ http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/about/index.html http://hea-www.harvard.edu/RD/ds9
students brought hard drives with these images on them so that our students could hook them up to any computer that had DS9 installed on it in order to analyze the images. Students were then trained by the graduate students on how to look for items of interest. One way to spark an astronomy research collaboration is to knock on doors, virtually of course. Send e-mails to the university and/or college astronomy departments in your area. One of the graduate students that we worked with noted that graduate students desire collaborations because the experience “looks good when applying for fellowships or for jobs.” UVA post-doc researcher Amanda Kepley provided the following advice about asking post-docs to work you into their National Science Foundation (NSF) or other fellowship grants: “Post-docs are generally short-term positions (2 to 3 year) with specific outcomes tied to grants, so I would advise people looking to work with post-docs to reach out to the departments that they are interested in working with and have a good web-presence....All NSF grants must specifically address the ‘broader impacts’ of the grant work, which can include mentoring students. See the NSF Grant proposals guide or a similar guide for the main funding agency for your research area (NASA, NIH, DOE, etc).” It is important to consider what kind of student should do astronomy research. Each needs to have a very strong work ethic and have the time to spend analyzing data. All three of my juniors that collaborated with UVA were hard workers and very meticulous. They agree that any student who is interested in an astronomy project “definitely has to be willing to trudge through hours and hours of procedure in looking at star charts” and so needs “to have patience and hope.” Each student also needs to be “willing to do a lot of outside work on their own.” The initial enthusiasm of the CVGS was essential in keeping them focused and committed. Working with professional astronomers provided the students with a great deal of confidence and brought their passion to a new level. It is necessary for a student doing this research to
have good communication and teamwork skills, since they have to work together to troubleshoot and bounce ideas off of one another. It is also important that the students you choose to work on these projects should be prepared to see the project through, even if, half way through the project, they lose some interest. This will keep the collaborative environment a stellar one. Actually, today’s technologies make it possible to communicate and collaborate with astronomy departments all over the globe with ease since astronomy software can be accessed in your classroom. However, long distance collaborations are not free from difficulties in communication, especially when students have deadlines to meet for grades and astronomers keep late hours and busy schedules. In the astronomy world, graduate students, post-docs and principal investigators can often be called to have telescope time in a certain location, and potentially have to leave with little or no notice. My students were able to communicate with their researchers via a shared online document hosted through the university’s server. The communication provided was “a great source for background research, communication, and investigation” said one student. Other communication methods such as Google Docs or Skype were not explored by the CVGS students, but would also be useful ways to communicate over long distances. At the end of their projects, I asked my students what they thought about the opportunity that they were given. One student said that it was an “incredible experience, especially being able to work with actual astronomy researchers, even though I’m just a junior in high school.” Another agreed, saying that it was “a pretty big deal to play a part in studying real astronomical data,” and that “being able to say that I participated in the Vela-Carina survey with UVA astronomers and having that kind of background will definitely help me if I want to do an internship in the future.” The third junior found that working on a study of black holes in high school was possible because she was able to work with “specialists in the field.” Spring 2010 15
The graduate students were equally excited to work with the students. One of the graduate students I spoke with knew she was working with gifted students, but was extremely surprised at how “brilliant they are,” and noted that these students will have a leg above the rest in the future in this field because “they can demonstrate that they are familiar with the overall research process, and that they can work with people with various levels of expertise.” Finally, if you are able to collaborate with a local astronomy department, create a venue to celebrate your students’ work. For example, the UVA Astronomy Department invited our students to present their results at their annual Astronomy Symposium. The students gave short PowerPoint presentations summarizing their research questions, hypotheses, concepts, methodologies, results, and conclusions. The students were very excited to present in a professional environment. The astronomers were impressed with each student’s ability to analyze and scrutinize the images and data that they were given. After the presentations it became clear that future collaboration between UVA graduate students and CVGS students would continue.
Dr. Stephen Majewski, UVA astronomy professor, told our students that high school helped fuel his passion for the sky by “providing him access to enter the school at night to wheel the big telescope out. I convinced my family to take me on a tour of the famous Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin while in high school. This is the home of the world’s largest refracting telescope, run by the University of Chicago. During the tour I turned to my mother, pointed to the tour guide and said ‘someday I’ll be up there doing that.’ Sure enough, about 10 years later, I was a graduate student at U of C and giving tours of the Observatory.” Dr. Majewski also said that with all of the data out there, high school students could potentially make any number of large astronomical finds. Your students should therefore be told that their research in astronomy could potentially contribute to the big picture. Ours were really impressed that they were also able to consult with professors and thought that, despite their youth, they were very supportive. In conclusion, collaborating with an astronomy department is an excellent way to promote STEM based experiences to our students. It is quite evident that the CVGS students gained so much more than just research experience from their collaboration. One of the students noted that he had been interested in being an astronomer for a long time, but that it made him “realize that there is A LOT of data that still needs to be combed through.”
CVGS students present at the 2010 UVA Astronomy Symposium. Left to Right: CVGS student Rebecca Millard, UVA astronomy doctoral student Rachael Beaton, UVA astronomy student Gail Zakowski, CVGS students Paul Zvick and Morgan Lupton.
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The students that did this work might become astronomers one day, discovering new galaxies and challenging current theories. I’m thankful that their passion to explore astronomy was fueled and I know that this experience will open more doors for them.
Assessing Differences in Students’ Experiences in Traditional versus Scientific Teaching-Based Biology Course By Sarah O’Leary and Susan C. Styer, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Introduction The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), located in Aurora Illinois, is a public, threeyear residential high school for students who are academically talented in mathematics and/or science. Students apply in their freshman year and are chosen based on test scores and grades as well as other accomplishments, such as extracurricular projects or performances. About 10-15% of the sophomore class enters IMSA from the eighth grade. The sophomore program consists of three contentbased, one-semester core courses in biology, chemistry, and physics, and one methods-inscience course. Sophomores take two science classes per semester. About 80% of the sophomores have had a previous biology course. We offer a placement test and approximately 9% place into a biology elective and the other 91% are enrolled in the Scientific Inquiries - Biology (SIB) course (Scheppler, Dosch, Styer, & Rogg, 2005). The mission statement of IMSA is to “ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.” This corresponds with the recent reform movements in science education that emphasize the development of scientific habits of mind through student engagement in the process of science (NRC, 1996). One program that focuses on developing scientific habits of mind is Scientific Teaching (ST), developed by the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching (Handelsman, Miller, & Pfund, 2007). Students learning science through ST parallel the practice of science. They are active in questioning, investigating, analyzing, and discovering. When teaching focuses on scientific practices rather than facts, student learning and knowledge retention increases. ST also models the collaborative process of science by including a diversity of
student perspectives and experiences that aid in solving problems. Engaging all students in the classroom produces better-educated graduates with more highly developed cognitive skills. Regular feedback is another tenet of ST. Built into the lesson, teachers continually assess whether learning goals are achieved and if changes are needed to improve instruction. This feedback also allows students to gauge their own progress on a regular basis. To replicate the practice of science in a classroom, an ST course is designed to give students an active part in their learning. Active leaning can take many forms, but ultimately requires students to be engaged through inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, and student-centered learning. Whether taking a few minutes or an entire class period, learners develop new knowledge and understanding based on something they worked on.
Sarah O’Leary (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This constructivist approach requires that students gain understanding by building their own knowledge (Treagust, Duit, & Fraser, 1996) and not merely acting as passive recipients. For example, instead of a class period focused on lecture only, students can be provided with some information and then asked to come up with questions, investigate by means of a lab or activity, or analyze data. In a biology class, then, students might include puzzle through case studies and pedigrees, hypothesize about bacterial growth on different media, put complex cell processes in sequence, examine data to determine a causal relationship in gene regulation, or draw a concept map about diseases and their underlying causes. Active learning can be done individually, in activities where students work alone and then put
Susan C. Styer (email@example.com) Sarah O’Leary and Susan C. Styer are members of the Biology Faculty at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. They invite your comments on Scientific Teaching. Spring 2010 17
their ideas together, or in groups, all of which take advantage of the benefits of the diversity of experience and perspective of their classmates. Immediate feedback from each other and the teacher then help both the teacher and the students determine their progress and understanding. One of our goals for the SIB course was to incorporate ST - active learning, diversity, and assessment - as much as possible. Students often say that the SIB course is different from any other class they were enrolled in before coming to IMSA. In addition, in the first semester, they are adjusting to the challenges of living away from home, having more homework, and being encouraged to learn more and think differently in class than they are used to. We therefore wanted to take a closer look at what specific differences exist between students’ experiences in previous science classes at their home schools and SIB at IMSA in order to identify factors that make SIB unique and to identify areas for change so that we can help make transitions easier. Materials and Methods To make our survey we chose 34 questions that were applicable to ST from the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES) (Fraser, 1998) and the Individualized Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ) (Fraser, 1990). The questions specifically examine active learning, diversity, assessment, and classroom environment and use Likert scale response categories from 1 to 5 (1 = never; 2 = almost never; 3 = sometimes; 4 = often; 5 = always). We categorized the 34 questions into four subsets: Active Learning, Assessment, Diversity, and Classroom Environment; some questions fell into two of these categories and those results are reported in both subsets. See Table 1 for the survey questions. IMSA’s Human and Animal Subjects Review Committee approved the survey process before it was administered to students. At the beginning of the fall semester, 126 sophomores enrolled in SIB completed the survey with respect to their last year’s science course. At the end of the semester, 115 students responded with reference to SIB, with numbers differing due to attrition. 18 NCSSSMST Journal
For analysis, we combined response categories 1-2 and 3-5, corresponding generally to rare vs. frequent occurrences, because we were looking for broad differences in the students’ classroom experiences in their previous schools as compared to SIB. Results and Discussion A one-tailed Mann-Whitney U test was performed on the survey data. As shown in Table 1, responses for 31 questions about students’ previous science courses were significantly different from their responses regarding SIB (p < 0.05), demonstrating that SIB has significantly more active learning, assessment, diversity, and student-centered classroom environment than what they had experienced before. The differences in responses to questions on Active Learning in Table 1a show that the ST approach in our course is significantly different from students’ previous experiences for all but one of the items. Students are asked to work closely with their peers and to use each other as resources for questions and explanations. Since ST puts some students out of their comfort zones, it may explain why some are reluctant to try constructing their own understanding or working with other students. When comparing the results between “Students find out answers to questions from the text book rather than from investigations” and “Students discuss their work in class,” we see that many students are experienced in discussing their work in class, but that fewer have used investigations to answer questions. Assessments are a useful tool for teachers and students to determine if the necessary understandings have been acquired. As shown in Table 1b, there were significant differences between previous science courses and SIB. For example, students identified that they were asked questions and expected to explain meanings of statements and data more often in SIB than in their previous schools. Also, students responded that they more often helped the teacher assess their learning in SIB. While many of our students come from demographically diverse classrooms, the questions in Table 1c were directed towards diversity of appreciation
Table 1 and inclusion of varied perspectives, ideas, questions, and learning styles through the activities a. Questions on Active Learning and general environment of the classroom, as is Students discuss their work in class suggested in Scientific Teaching.
Significant differences were found in how often student ideas and suggestions were used in class, how often students talked with others, and how often they were told exactly how to do their work. Encouraging students to share their perspectives can contribute to a better understanding of the material for all learners involved. Students will be more likely to share their ideas and take risks to engage in discussion or unfamiliar activities if they feel their contributions are valued. Questions related to student experiences in the classroom environment are shown in Table 1d. Students were less likely to be expected to do the same work at the same time in SIB compared to their previous experience. They were also less likely to choose their own seats or partners. Because students are expected to construct their own knowledge in SIB, for example by working with data to draw conclusions, there is more flexibility in the pace and direction they take to accomplish the content goals.
P value <0.0001** Students find out answers to questions from the textbooks rather than investigations <0.0001** Students draw conclusions from information <0.0001** Students carry out investigations to test ideas <0.0001** Students find out the answers to questions and problems from the teacher rather <0.0001** than investigations Students are asked to think about the evidence behind statements <0.0001** Students are asked questions <0.0001** Students carry out investigations to answer questions from class discussions <0.0001** Students sit and listen to the teacher <0.0001** Students explain the meaning of statements, diagrams, and graphs <0.0001** Students learn that science cannot provide perfect answers to problems <0.0001** Students learn that science has changed over time 0.4761 Students talk with other students about how to solve problems <0.0001** Students explain their understanding to other students <0.0001** As a student, you ask other students to explain their thoughts <0.0001** As a student, you ask by other students to explain your ideas .002* The teacher lectures without students asking or answering questions <0.0001** b. Questions on Assessment Students are asked questions Students explain the meaning of statements, diagrams, and graphs The teacher uses tests to find out where each student needs help As a student, you help the teacher to assess your learning c. Questions on Diversity Students discuss their work in class Students work at their own speed Students choose their partners for group work Most students take part in discussions Students are told exactly how to do their work Difference students do different work Students’ ideas and suggestions are used during classroom discussions Students talk with other students about how to solve problems Students explain their understanding to other students As a student you are asked by other students to explain your ideas As a student you ask other students to explain their thoughts
ST not only requires redesigning the approach to what is done in the classroom but also redefining the interactions between class participants. Students reported that teachers in previous courses remained at the front of the room while this rarely happened in SIB. Also, students felt more comfortable complaining when activities were confusing and asking for the rationale behind d. Questions on Classroom Environment learning certain material. Implications for Our Teaching The survey results have implications for our teaching since understanding the previous classroom experiences of our students helps us facilitate their transition and adjustment. Our results show that our students were accustomed to discussing their work in class but that they had little experience in drawing conclusions from data. Thus, if we find students are not communicating well, we know we need to help them make their conversations more productive.
P value <0.0001** <0.0001** 0.0001* <0.0001** P value <0.0001** 0.1131 <0.0001** 0.0001* <0.0001** <0.0001** <0.0001** <0.0001** <0.0001** <0.0001** <0.0001**
P value Students choose their own partners for group work <0.0001** Students are told exactly how to do their work <0.0001** Students feel it’s ok to complain about anything that prevents them from learning 0.0307* The teacher decides where students sit <0.0001** The teacher talks to each student <0.0001** The teacher talks rather than listens <0.0001** The teacher helps each student who is having trouble with the work 0.0516 The teacher remains at the front of the class rather than moving about and <0.0001** talking with the students As a student, it is ok to ask the teacher “why do I have to learn this?” 0.0001** As a student, it is ok for you to complain about teaching activities that are 0.0002** Questions modified from the ICEQ and CLES. Questions have been divided into four categories: a. Active Learning, b. Assessment, c. Diversity, and d. Classroom Environment. P values and significance are shown comparing two administrations of the survey. Spring 2010 19
References Fraser, B. J. (1990). Individualised classroom learning environment questionnaire. Hawthorn, VIC: Australian Council for Educational Research. Fraser, B. J. (1998). Science learning environments: Assessment, effects and determinants. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin, (Eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 527-564). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
The pre-survey showed us that students were unfamiliar with explaining meaning and assessing their own understanding, activities which occur frequently in SIB. This suggests we need to develop ways to encourage ownership of learning in SIB, taking responsibility to connect with their teachers, peers, and others for help as needed.
One SIB strategy is to have students to write down their understanding of a process and then to work with a partner to improve their work. Both students are actively engaged with the material, evaluating their current level of understanding and creating more meaningful explanations. While initially challenging, students soon take ownership of their progress. These types of formative Handelsman, J., Miller, S., & Pfund, assessments have been beneficial to the students C. (2007). Scientific teaching. New and teachers to identify the level of understanding of the class, to correct misconceptions, and to York: W. H. Freeman and Co. promote different approaches to the material. National Research Council (1996). Some responses indicated that SIB offers more National science education freedom and flexibility than students were used to standards. Washington, D.C.: – choosing seats, working with others, and conNational Academy Press. tributing suggestions, and more likely to be told Retrieved from: http://www.nap. edu/openbook.php?record_id=496 exactly how to do their work. Some students have trouble with this kind of freedom since they are 2&page=R1 responsible for what they contribute, how they Scheppler, J. A., Dosch, D., Styer, work with a group, and even just what to do first. Guidelines and checkpoints can help students S., & Rogg, S. (2005). Student inquiry at the Illinois Mathematics manage these processes. Allowing students to work in groups for 5 to 10 minutes and then and Science Academy. In R.E bringing their conclusions and questions into a Yager (Ed.), Exemplary science in grades 9-12 (113-124). Arlington, large class discussion helps keep groups on task. VA: NSTA Press. Students indicated in that they interact with their Treagust, D.F., Duit, R., & Fraser, teacher in SIB more than in their previous classes. B. J. (1996). Overview: Research This interaction is very important in an ST classroom, so students need guidance on the on students’ preinstructional conceptions - The driving force for course content and on the transition and improving teaching and learning in adjustment to our teaching style. science and mathematics. In D. F. The knowledge we gained from these surveys and Treagust, R. Duit, & B.J. Fraser observations we and other teachers made inspired (Eds.), Improving teaching and us to put explicit steps in place to help students learning in science and struggling with the transition to SIB in terms of mathematics (pp. 1-14). NY: active learning, collaboration, and reflection. These Teachers College Press. students were identified by their grades on the first exam and through their work and activities in The Wisconsin Program for and outside of class. Scientific Teaching. http:// scientificteaching.wisc.edu/ 20 NCSSSMST Journal
We developed a Biology Progress Plan outlining specific steps that students were to follow: writing up current approaches to the class and studying, recording their analyses about what was successful and what was not, and creating a plan for future success. They were encouraged to write out explanations of material after each class period, do all available practice problems and activities, gain feedback on their explanations and practices, work with other students at help sessions, and see their teachers on a regular basis for questions and discussion. Full participation also included turning in practice writing and problems consistently, seeing the teacher frequently, attending all help sessions, and following through with all suggestions made. In general, students who fully participated in the plan improved their subsequent quiz scores by better than 10%. This was larger than the increase (and sometimes decreases) of students who were encouraged to do the plan but did not participate fully. Even those who were not struggling were inspired by these improvements and decided to follow the plan as well. In later semesters we have presented the Progress Plan to all students at the beginning of SIB. While not all students follow through, it is now understood that these are steps to take to learn and do well with the material, and are not reserved as a “fix” intended for those who are struggling. Since we believe even small changes in pedagogy and class design can help students be more engaged, we will continue to use the survey information to help our students benefit from our ST-based SIB course. These changes encourage students to be more invested in and excited about science because their experiences better reflect the inquiry, problem solving, and collaboration with diverse perspectives that represent science. Student interest and excitement, in addition to the accumulation of facts and knowledge, may even make them more likely to pursue science in the future (Handelsman et al. 2007). Acknowledgements We thank Judy Scheppler and Don Dosch for their feedback and encouragement in this project.
Technology Focus: Enhancing Learning of Limits of Functions with Dynamic Sketches By Beth Cory, Sam Houston State University and Joe Garofalo, University of Virginia After students have constructed a conceptual understanding of a mathematical idea, applying mathematical symbolism to represent and define the idea concisely becomes an easier task. In fact, Moore (1994) found that students “often needed to develop their concept images through examples, diagrams, graphs, and other means before they could understand formal verbal or symbolic definitions.” Case in Point: The Formal Definition of the Limit of a Function A good example is the formal ε-δ definition of the limit of a function. Without a coherent pictorial model, students struggle to make sense of this definition, and it is no wonder when one considers its complexity: “A function f(x) has a limit L as x approaches c if for every ε >0, there exists an integer δ > 0 such that for every x, if 0 < |x – c|< δ, then |f(x) – L| < ε” (adapted from Bartle & Sherbert, 1992, p. 113). Beginning students are often unable to connect their naïve, motion-oriented visual models of limit with the static absolute value inequalities in the verbal definition (Cottrill et al., 1996). Furthermore, they may not understand why the universal quantifier (“for every”) and the existential quantifier (“there exists”) are necessary, and either attach them to the wrong variable or overlook them entirely. Even after instruction, if students’ pictorial mental models are not yet fully developed and integrated with the verbal representation, they may have trouble explaining or even remembering this definition (Cory, 2005). Some give up trying to understand altogether and resort to rote memorization, frequently confusing the formal definition with other limit notions. While the formal definition takes effort to master, with appropriate guidance, manipulating an interactive,
mathematically-consistent visual representation of the formal limit concept may help learners enhance their understanding of the definition. In this way, interactive sketches may make the formal definition less formidable, thus providing a more positive experience for students during one of their first introductions to advanced mathematical thought. The Dynamic Sketches Using The Geometer’s Sketchpad (Jackiw, 2002), we designed a collection of interactive dynamic sketches that could be utilized to help students overcome hurdles involved in understanding the formal definition of the limit of a function. Although beginning calculus students intuitively connect the limit concept to motion along the curve, a first hurdle is to coordinate the movement of x toward c (the domain process) with the simultaneous movement of f(x) toward L (the range process; Cottrill et al., 1996). In our sketches, after clicking on the “Show trace function” button, students can manipulate a visual representation of these coordinated processes by dragging a lavender-colored x-value along the xaxis toward c while simultaneously viewing the movement of the corresponding f(x)-values along the y-axis toward L (see Fig. 1). The x-value and
Dr. Beth Cory is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Sam Houston State University (TX). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joe Garafalo is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Co-Director of the Center for Technology and Teacher Education at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. Email: email@example.com
Figure 1. Coordinating the domain and range processes
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References Bartle, R.G. & Sherbert, D.R. (1982). Introduction to Analysis (2nd ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. Cottrill, J., Dubinsky, E., Nichols, D., Schwingendorf, K., Thomas, K., & Vidakovic, D. (1996). Understanding the limit concept: Beginning with a coordinated process scheme. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 15, 167-192.
corresponding f(x)-value also determine a point that moves simultaneously along the curve toward (c, f(L)). (Note that the buttons on the sketches toggle between “Show” and “Hide.”) Once this coordination is understood, the next step is to reconstruct the coordinated processes in terms of the absolute-value inequalities in the definition (Cottrill et al., 1996). In each dynamic sketch, the student can display a δ-interval along the x-axis around c by clicking on the “Show delta” button and an ε-interval along the y-axis around the limit, L, by clicking on the “Show epsilon” button (see Fig. 2).
Cory, B. (2005). Using dynamic sketches to enhance preservice secondary mathematics teachers understanding of limit. (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Virginia, 2005). Digital Dissertations, Publication No. AAT 3189283. Cory, B. (In Press.) Figure 2. Applying the formal definition dynamically Visualizing Limits of Sequences Using Dynamic After the instructor adjusts the red ε-slider to Sketches. NCTM ON-Math display an appropriately large ε-interval, students can drag the lavender-colored x-value back and Journal. forth within the δ-interval to see that all correJackiw, N. (2002). The sponding f(x)-values fall within the ε-interval. This Geometer’s Sketchpad (Version gives a visual representation of “for every x, if 4.03). [Computer software]. 0<|x – c|<δ, then |f(x) – L|<ε.” To see this more clearly, the “Show how x-values are mapped Berkeley, CA: Key Curriculum to y-axis” button colors a light-blue band initiating Press. from the δ-interval, traveling up to the curve, then Moore, R.C. (1994). Making over to y-axis to fall within the ε-interval. the transition to formal proof. After students understand the absolute-value Educational Studies in inequalities, they are ready to tackle the universal Mathematics, 27, 249-266. and existential quantifiers. One method (the “ε-δ game”) is for the instructor to set the red ε-slider to a particular value. Then a student volunteer is asked to find one δ-value that “works,” i.e., for which all x-values (except x=c) within the δ-interval correspond to f(x)-values within the ε-interval. This is done by either dragging the δ-slider or adjusting the endpoints on the δ-interval. 22 NCSSSMST Journal
If the student can find an appropriate δ for the given ε, he or she wins the first round of the game. Note that students can use the x- and y-scale sliders to zoom in around x=c and y=L as needed. After playing two more rounds using two increasingly smaller values of ε, the students are asked, “For any value of ε, could you always find a δ that ‘works’?” If the limit exists, our students have responded with explanations such as, “Yes, because you can stretch out your x-scale and see the tiniest, tiniest little number near c?that would make you fall into whatever ε you wanted me to hit,” or “Yes, because this is a continuous function.” Finally, to connect the visual to the verbal, we have students carefully compare their interactions with the sketch to each portion of the formal definition. Going through similar processes with sketches of various functions can help students further connect the visual dynamic representation with the verbal representation. Our collection includes two quadratic functions, a constant function, a rational function, and a piecewise-defined function. A nice option for each sketch is to give students a table of ten or more ε-values for which to find an appropriate δ. In this way, the concept of the universal quantifier is further reinforced. Accessing the Dynamic Sketches We encourage you to use our collection of dynamic sketches in your own classes. We also welcome your suggestions for improving this tool. The sketches are available by subscribing to NCTM’s ON-Math online journal. To open the sketches, The Geometer’s Sketchpad version 4 or higher must be installed on your computer.
Arts Corner By Arthur S. Williams, Ph.D., Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts Some concerns in education are more fundamental than subject matter. One such topic is the human brain itself and the ways in which modern information technologies are transforming it. The implications for education are large. An organization devoted to exploring the educational implications of developments in neuroscience is the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society (www.imbes.org). The stated mission of the Society is “to facilitate crosscultural collaboration in biology, education and the cognitive and developmental sciences.” “The Society’s principal goal,” they explain, “is to foster dynamic relations between neuroscience, genetics, cognitive science, development, and education so that each field benefits from and influences work in the others, including questions asked, phenomena addressed, and methods employed.” Toward this end IMBES sponsors conferences that put researchers of various stripes before audiences of school teachers and administrators. Thanks to a grant awarded to my school (registration is not cheap), a colleague and I were able to attend the twenty-fourth “Learning and the Brain” conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts last November. The title of this conference—there have been several over the course of the year— was “Modern Brains: Enhancing Memory and Performance in this Distracting Digital Age.” As the conference rubric suggests, a number of the sessions were concerned in one way or another with the Internet and the newer social networking technologies that are “distracting” our students. After listening to nine keynote speakers and viewing numerous images of brains, I came away convinced that digital media are, in fact, changing the way kids’ brains work by creating new neural pathways and networks for processing information.
In some respects, of course, such changes are probably necessary. The pace of life is not slowing down, the pool of available information is ever expanding, and the human brain has to adjust to the demands that modern life places upon it for processing a lot of information rapidly. Adaptation can mean survival. The concerns voiced by some of the conference’s presenters, however, were two-fold. On the one hand, they addressed the failure of some of our technology-addicted young people to develop “empathy.” While our young are spending more time than ever connected to each other electronically, there is evidence that face-to-face communicative and social skills are diminishing as a consequence. A group of young subjects in one experiment I heard about proved unable to describe the emotions reflected in a series of pictures of human faces. While such results are hardly conclusive, they do suggest a lack of real human connection. Other explicit concerns centered on thinking rather than emotions. Although the Internet may enhance users’ ability to multi-task and to engage in some kinds of decision-making, it does nothing to promote their capacity for slow reflection and “deep reading.” How we read is closely aligned with how we think, experts tell us, and a decline in reading skills suggests that certain ways of thinking that have been important in the past are at risk of being lost in the digital age. The challenge for educators in all of this is how to accommodate the new world of digitized information without losing certain qualities of thinking achievable only through the slower and more stable medium of print. Even if books as we know them should become something different, people who can read deeply and reflect on what they have read will continue to fulfill a role in society. Won’t they?
Dr. Arthur S. Williams has taught English at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts since 1984. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spring 2010 23
Affiliate Spotlight: Nashville Reflections By Jill Sifuentes, Illinois Institute of Technology In January of 2010, President Barack Obama issued a challenge to educators throughout the country to join his Educate to Innovate Campaign for Excellence in STEM Education. Specifically, the President called upon schools to attract, develop, reward, and retain outstanding students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In March, NCSSSMST and its members did their part to answer the call. The NCSSMST 2010 Professional Conference in Nashville: Tuning into STEM Education was my fourth conference and most certainly my favorite. From the Opening Reception on Wednesday evening to the Plenary Session on Saturday morning, I was continually impressed by the energy and spirit of the participants. Through sessions, plenary speakers and impromptu hallway conversations, the conference allowed for plenty of time for working together to discuss how we can change the future of STEM for our students and colleagues. Teachers, guidance counselors, principals, and admission counselors were challenged to ask “What can I do?” and to consider how each of us can make a difference - whether it’s through hosting events, creating new curricula, or even providing funding through scholarships. Together numerous creative ideas were shared and fostered the beginning of new partnerships. Jill Sifuentes is the Associate Director of Recruitment and Enrollment at the Illinois Institute of Technology and is the newly elected Affiliate NCSSSMST Board Member. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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An example of innovative thinking is the event being hosted jointly by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Olin College of Engineering, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute July 12-14. This NCSSSMST Summer Institute will provide an opportunity for professionals from 25 member schools to meet and address college admission practices and how to encourage students to pursue STEM studies.
For me, the highlight of the conference was the “Reverse College Fair” where representatives from member secondary schools were standing behind tables and had the chance to share their programs and student accomplishments with participants. It was a great twist for college representatives to walk around and ask high school counselors, teachers, and administrators about their schools and students. An unexpected outcome was high school representatives talking to each other about sharing and collaborating ideas. This new format was well received and will hopefully be new tradition for future professional conferences. Like many, I left Nashville with a renewed sense of pride in NCSSSMST as well as information and ideas to share with my colleagues back in the office. I’m excited to be part of this organization and looking forward to witnessing the growth and developments in STEM education as a result of our membership. In case you missed the announcement, the Professional Conference will now be hosted in the fall. This year NCSSSMST will be joining with National Association of Gifted Students (NAGC) to host a joint conference November 10-14, 2010. This event will prove to be another way to collaborate and promote STEM education. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for another great event!
Solar Hydrogen Fuel Cell Projects at Brooklyn Tech By Alex Fedotov*, Shadia Farah, Daithi Farley, Naureen Ghani, Emmy Kuo, Cecielo Aponte, Leo Abrescia, Laiyee Kwan, Ussamah Khan, Felix Khizner*, Anthony Yam, Khan Sakeeb*, Daniel Grey*, Zarin Anika*, Fouad Issa*, Chayama Boussayoud, Mahmoud Abdeldayem*, Alvin Zhang*, Kelin Chen*, Kameron Chuen Chan*, Viktor Roytman* and Michael Yee*, Brooklyn (NY) Technical High School Introduction Several teams at Brooklyn Technical High School have been working on solar hydrogen powered vehicles using water as fuel. These projects are based on proposals made several years ago and are a continuation of the work of others (Lange, Khan, Zarin, Grey, & Chen, 2008). Our investigations into the pure and applied chemical thermodynamics of hydrogen fuel cells and bioinspired devices have been consolidated in a new and emerging sub-discipline that we define as solar hydrogen electric bio-mimetic energetics.
hydrogen electricity technology, to compare the efficiency of solar-hydrogen electricity to other AUV energy sources, and to base the design on the biometrics of a stingray. The primary components of the AUV are the solar hydrogen fuel cell reactor, the buoyancy apparatus, the rigid framework, and the water-sampling unit. With fuel cells the AUV will be able to operate for prolonged periods of time collecting water samples and other data. Using its onboard camera it can relay images and videos of underwater events.
We have designed and are developing the following autonomous or remote-controlled/ bio-inspired devices: Remote Controlled Hovercraft Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Air Sampling Craft Tranquilizing Dart Projector Autonomous Buoyant Micro-power Plant Remote Controlled Electric Water Sampling Boat Inflatable Electric Kite. Remote Controlled Hovercraft The hovercraft was the first remote controlled vehicle developed in our laboratory more than five years ago (Khizner, 2005). Electrochemical thermodynamic and chemical kinetics studies were conducted in standard reactors. The body of the craft is made of honeycomb plastic sheets and the skirt of ultrathin nylon. A pair of 7.2 V solar panels on the dorsal surface of the craft converts light into electrical energy for fuel cells that split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The gases are collected in plastic bottles and used during the voltaic phase to supply energy to the motors of the fans and rudder.
The buoyancy apparatus of the AUV is designed to mimic the hydrostatics of the swim bladder of teleostean fish (Walcott and Thornton, 2007) using data from in-house hydrostatic studies. By formulating new equations that demonstrate the relationship of Gibbs free energy for hydrogen combustion and the bio-energetic term for fish kinetics, we estimated energy requirements for the AUV. We were also able to use anatomical and fluid dynamics data from the bat ray to design an AUV that mimics elasmobranch motion.
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have become a powerful tool for environmental testing. However, energy remains a limitation in AUV development. The purpose of this project was to develop and test an AUV powered by solar-
Air Sampling Craft A similar formulation of equations on the biomechanics of the manta ray has been used in the Editorâ€™s Note: *Brooklyn Tech design and development of the solar hydrogen electric autonomous aeronautical air sampling craft alumni. (Roytman, et al., 2008). The craft payload is a Spring 2010 25
series of cyclone precipitators that separate microparticles and convey the remnant air to bags for aerial sampling. Extensive tests on the cyclone precipitator unit and the wind hydrogen electric fuel cell reactor system of the aircraft were conducted.
Acknowledgements The projects reported herein were funded by grants provided by the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Research Foundation. Cedric Berenton and Dr. Holdane Rogers of Brooklyn Technical High School have provided technical assistance.
Tranquilizing Dart Projector We are developing a remote-controlled tranquilizing dart projector for animals in mountainous regions. Aerodynamic studies have demonstrated that the expiratory volume used for firing a dart from a blowpipe can be mimicked and amplified by means of a safe chemical reaction (Fedotov & Yee, 2005). The design of the dart projector is based on ethno-toxicology studies of blowpipes, especially from the Amazon (Filatova, 2006). Buoyant Micro-power Plant The design of the solar hydrogen electric autonomous buoyant micro-power plant utilizes a modular system consisting of a turbine, a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), a solar panel, and the housing, allowing them to be independently fabricated and serviced. The turbine, MEA and housing are built in-house while the solar panel is purchased. The turbine, designed to adapt to unpredictable currents in scientific expeditions as well as seasonal offshore storms, has a vertical axis so that the fins are omni-directional. Water Sampling Boat The remote water sampling boat has a roof of six 1.5 V solar panels (Chen and Grey, 2005). In the hull are the fuel cell reactor unit, which consists of plastic bottles for hydrogen and oxygen collection and a series of six 1.5 V fuel cells. Bolted to the inner hull is a winch connected to the robotically controlled probe at the bottom of the hull. The probe can be lowered to specific depths and water samples collected at a variety of depths in test tubes. Inflatable Electric Kite Our most recent development is the inflatable solar/wind hydrogen electric kite (Khan and Yam, 2010). We conducted electrochemical, thermodynamic, and chemical kinetics studies on the generation of hydrogen and oxygen in a 3.0 V fuel cell reactor. We determined the energy generated by the wind turbine and studied the aerodynamics of deltoid and aerofoil kites. We then designed and constructed a deltoidshaped kite with solar panels and a wind turbine.
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Future Plans We will be conducting detailed field tests of our crafts as well as studies in mechanotronics, fluid dynamic investigations, and anatomical studies on aquatic and flying animals. The anatomical investigations include non-invasive studies to develop deeper insights into the connections of structure and fluid dynamic function in living organisms. Teams are currently developing solar hydrogen drone rocket planes for air sampling. Other teams are re-engineering the water sampling boat, the hovercraft, and the AUV. References Chen, K. & Grey, D. (2005). The development and testing of a remote controlled solar hydrogen electric submarine. Student research symposium of the NCSSSMST, Villanova University, Philadelphia. Fedotov, A., & M. Yee. (2005). How do the gas laws influence the operation of the blow pipe? (Abstr.) Student research symposium of the NCSSSMST, Villanova University, Philadelphia. Filatova, N. (2006). A study of the commonality between the blow pipes of the North Amazonian tribes and the use and preparation of the curare poison. Project Report, New York Science and Engineering Fair. Khan, U. & Yam, A. (2010). The Development and Testing of a Solar/Wind Hydrogen Electrical Kite. Report, New York City Science and Engineering Fair. Khizner, F. (2005). The Development and Testing of a Remote Controlled Solar Hydrogen Electric Hovercraft. Report, New York City Science and Engineering Fair. Lange, C.J., Khan, S., Zarin, A., Grey, D., & Chen, K. (2008). Bio-mimicry studies of aquatic species and the development of solar hydrogen electric autonomous under water vehicles & autonomous airborne vehicles. Conference Proceedings of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Los Angeles. Roytman, V., Lange, C.J., Sakeeb, K., Anika, Z., Issa, F.A., Zhang, A., et al. (2008). The Development and Testing of a Solar Hydrogen Electric Air Ship. U.S. Patent Office Provisional Patent. Walcott H.E. & Thornton S. (2007). Persistent buoyancy deficits in two clown fish. Conference Proceedings of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Los Angeles.
Student Research Across NCSSSMST Overview Earlier this year, each NCSSSMST member head of school was invited to nominate and send in two abstracts representing individual or team research to be included in this issue of the Journal. Twenty-six schools responded with nominees. After reviewing the abstracts and in order to showcase the depth and variety of research being done across NCSSSMST, the review team recommended that one abstract from each school be selected and, collectively, that all categories of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair be represented. The following 27 abstracts from the 26 schools in 10 states, then, do not represent a competition - no judgment of the quality of the work presented is intended. We thank and wish all the researchers who submitted abstracts the best in their future endeavors.
Animal Sciences Color Affects the Feeding Habits of Rodolia cardinalis Musarrat Maisha and Chandelor Simon, The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt University, TN The increasing use of pesticides has harmful effects ranging from birth defects to air pollution. However, farmers continue to use these chemicals in order to protect crops. One such crop is the tomato plant, which is prone to aphids. Rodolia cardinalis, the ladybird, feeds on aphids and can therefore reduce the need to use pesticides. In order to increase the number of R. cardinalis in the tomato fields naturally, the effects of color in the insectâ€™s feeding habits were examined. Fifteen R. cardinalis were placed in two separate chambers; warm colored (red, yellow, orange, gold) and cool colored (blue, light blue, purple, green). Each chamber had feeding stations of red/yellow and blue/green, respectively. The birds were then observed at ten minute intervals for an hour to determine which colors they preferred. It was found that the R. cardinalis preferred to feed on cool colors (p<0.001), specifically on blue feeding stations which had a feeding ratio (number feeding on particular color/total feeding) of 0.4 (40%) while the other colors had approximately 0.2 or less. In conclusion, creating environments with cool colors, especially blue, around the tomato plants could attract the R. cardinalis and help to reduce the use of artificial pesticides. The Fear of the Beast Behavior & Social Sciences Tyler Carpenter, Southwest Virginia Governorâ€™s School Implications of fear based on exposure to domesticated animals were tested based on interactions with a large breed dog or a common captive-bred snake. Two-hundred students were recruited, and parental consents were obtained. Students from various grade levels were visited in classrooms and either coached to interact with a given animal or not coached. Coaching involved communicating safe petting locations and the friendly nature of the animal. Chi-square tests showed coaching resulted in a significantly greater (p < 0.001) number of student interactions with the animals. There was a statistical difference (p = 0.001) (Chi-square) between the interactions of the students with the dog (6.0 +/- 0.75) and the snake (5.01 +/- 0.33) (mean+/-SE). However, there was no statistical correlation (p = 0.233) (two sample t-test) between the Fear Survey Schedule for Children â€“ Revised score and student interactions. Spring 2010 27
This work could be extended using other types of animals and using a matched pair sampling analysis, and by including a variety of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and age groups. Results could be used to influence school districts to use animals and qualified trainers to coach students on safe interaction habits so that fears of animals are overcome in early childhood. Behavior & Social Sciences The Effect of the Number of Hours of Sleep on the Reflexes of Adolescents from Morning to Afternoon Virginia Skipper, Spring Valley High School, SC The purpose of this experiment was to see if there was a relationship between the amount of sleep an individual received and a particular period in the day where adolescents were most awake, i.e. able to learn and concentrate in school. It was hypothesized that the test subjects who had received the most sleep would display the best reaction times throughout the day. A group of students was given a survey questioning the amount of sleep received the previous night. They were given three different tests of reflexes before school started, at lunch, and after school. The three tests were: a ruler was dropped and measured to see how quickly it could be caught, a stop watch was used and had to be stopped as close to ten seconds as possible, and a test online using a computer mouse. Student reflex times were correlated with the number of hours of sleep received. An ANOVA test (p= 0.05) was done to determine which group of students had the best reaction times. The students with the least sleep had slower reaction times in the afternoon. Biochemistry Identification of Genetically Engineered Mice: A Comparison of Multiple DNA Preparation and Evaluation Methods Nhu Ngoc Pham, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, LA The purpose of this project was to compare two methods of DNA extraction to determine which will produce the most useful result in transgenic mice identification. The hypothesis for this investigation states that the QIAGEN extraction method of DNA preparation will produce higher results in terms of yield and purity for the transgenic mice tested than the organic extraction method. To investigate which method works best, multiple DNA extractions were conducted using the two different methods and verified with PCR and Southern Blotting to test yield, purity, cost efficiency, and work time. With the assistance of my mentor, I conducted mice husbandry, tail clippings, DNA extraction, and DNA analysis. The differences in the two extraction methods were not significant in terms of purity and cost, but yield and work time were significantly different. I was able to determine that the QIAGEN method of DNA extraction would be a better method of use within a molecular genetic lab research. Although the QIAGEN method does not yield as high of a percent as the Organic method, it was more time efficient, inexpensive compared to Organic extraction, and the purity was excellent. The advantages by using the QIAGEN extraction method outweigh its disadvantages. Cellular and Molecular Tracking Disease Outbreaks Using ELISA Technology Biology Michelle Lee, Wheeler High School Center for Advanced Studies, GA An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay measures whether a specific antibody is present in a patientâ€™s serum. Because of its simplicity and high sensitivity, this plate-based assay is commonly used in determining whether a patient has an infectious disease such as HIV. ELISA can also be used to detect proteins and is applied for a variety of purposes including drug, pregnancy, and allergen tests. The purpose of this investigation was to identify students infected with the simulated H1N1 virus using ELISA methodology. Polystyrene wells were coated with the appropriate antigen and exposed to a primary antibody. A secondary antibody containing horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was then added, which bound to primary antibody, if present. After washing away all unbounded antibodies, a substrate was added that attached to the secondary antibody/HRP complex. If the antigen was present, a color change would be produced and if the solution remained clear, no antigen was detected and the test would be considered negative. While color intensity was proportional to the amount of enzyme-labeled antibodies present in the sample, many variables such as reagent selection, temperature, volume measurement, and time can affect test outcomes. 28 NCSSSMST Journal
The Effect of Fertilizer on the Oil Content of Lemna minor Chemistry Michael Daugherty and Kevin McCarty, Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center, MI The experiment conducted was focused on determining if the amount of fertilizer applied to Lemna minor (common duckweed) while growing affected the oil content of the duckweed. Duckweed was cultivated and allowed to grow in three separate groups: high fertilizer content, low fertilizer content, and no fertilizer content as a control. Then the duckweed was collected, air-dried, the oil was extracted using acetone to break down the cellular bonds, the pulp was filtered out of the acetone-oil solution, and the remaining oil was massed. The mass percent of the oil extracted from fertilized duckweed was compared to the original mass percent of oil from the control samples using a t-test to determine if the fertilizer levels had a significant effect on the oil content. It was concluded that neither the low or high fertilizer content levels had a significant effect on the oil content of duckweed. This research was prompted by increasing reliance on fossil fuels, and the pressing need for renewable energy to sustain the human race into the future after fossil fuels are depleted. The Chemical Extraction of Thymol Chemistry Maya Nedelijkovic, Mathematics and Science Academy at Ocean Lakes High School, VA The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether tincture, Soxhlet extraction, or microwave assisted extraction (MAE) would provide the greatest percent yield in extracting thymol from thyme. The tincture method consisted of adding ethanol to the plant sample in an Erlenmeyer flask and allowing each trial to soak for ten days. For the Soxhlet extraction, the plant matter was placed in the main chamber while ethanol was poured in the receiving flask, running for 6 hours. The MAE involved heating ethanol and plant sample in a beaker in an unmodified microwave oven. Five trials were run for each extraction method. They were filtered and tested with glacial acetic acid, nitric acid, and sulfuric acid. The transmittance of each trial was measured at the analytical wavelength and tested against a Beerâ€™s Law plot. From this plot, concentration and percent yield were determined. Tincture produced the highest yield and Soxhlet the lowest; however, no statistically significant difference between the tincture and MAE existed. Because the trial solutions were green and the colorimetric test was also green, interference between the two could have caused abnormally high yield. Also, the color of the test was time dependent; therefore, the tests varied in wavelength. A Real-time Computer Vision System for Robot Path Planning Computer Science Elliott Chung, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, GA This paper describes a low-cost, vision-based path planning system that consists of a web-cam, a homemade four-wheel omni-directional mobile robot, and an XBee wireless communication link. A graphical user interface was developed in Processing which allows the user to create and edit paths visually in an obstacle environment, to observe the movement of the robot in real-time, and analyze the experiment data after each run. The vision data is feed-backed to the controller to generate commands to the robot. One unique feature of the system is its ability to test different motion algorithms rapidly. Using this platform, two motion control algorithms were compared. The first algorithm used a conventional approach which involved only two movements: rotational and forward movements. The second approach took advantage of the omni wheel capability which allows the robot to move in eight directions with minimum rotations. The resulting motion resembles crab movement. From the experiments, the simple algorithm was found to be slower as rotational movement takes longer time to complete. The test results suggest that this affordable system can successfully track predefined paths using simple color tracking algorithms and low-cost webcam. Deterministic Lexical Categorization Using Genetic Algorithms Computer Science Dru Knox, Roanoke Valley Governorâ€™s School for Science and Technology, VA Current lexical categorization programs generally trade speed and resource use for higher accuracy. This study explored a novel approach to lexical categorization that increased speed and reduced disk footprint Spring 2010 29
with a minimal decrease in accuracy. The program created for the study, codenamed Genesis, has implications in artificial intelligence, code breaking, and many other fields. Genesis solves basic natural language processing problems using genetic algorithms. The program generates random taggings for a given sentence and refines those taggings using a method similar to evolution. To assess the use of genetic algorithms for lexical categorization, Genesis was compared to the Stanford POSTagger using three benchmarks. The first benchmark was a Big O analysis of algorithmic growth. The second was a comparison of file size between the two programs. Finally, a test corpus of annotated English text was run through both programs, with the output being analyzed for accuracy. The algorithmic growth rate for Genesis was cubic, while the growth rate for the Stanford program was exponential. Furthermore, the disk footprint of Genesis (200 kB) was 0.02% of the disk footprint of the Stanford program (1GB). Accuracy for Genesis was 93-95% versus 97-98% for the Stanford POSTagger. Computer Science One Size Fits All: A Universal User Interface Ishan Khetarpal, Science, Math, Computer Science at Poolesville High School, MD A key limitation of speech recognition systems is their inability to apply common sense reasoning. The Metacognitive Loop (MCL) is a device that provides this ability to Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. Currently, MCL is being applied to Active Logic for Reason-Enhanced Dialogue (ALFRED), a universal interface for all computer systems. The final version of ALFRED will accept verbal input, and the goal is to use MCL to reduce errors in speech recognition. After a speech recognition interface for ALFRED was created, data was collected on common errors in utterance recognition. Most of the sentences that were generated randomly were interpreted with no errors, but purposefully ambiguous sentences (with homonyms) were often misinterpreted as the computer could not reason about context. Also, due to the nature of the software used to create the verbal interface to ALFRED, alterations in manner of utterance (such as background noise and faster utterance rate) were prone to error in interpretation. The results were consistent with past studies, and emphasize the need for MCL. Earth & Planetary Science Material Degradation Problems in Low Earth Orbit: The Effect of Solar Exposure on the Atomic Oxygen Erosion of Hubble Space Telescope Bi-Stem Thermal Shield Aluminzed Teflon FEP Aobo Guo, Arielle Stambler, Karen Inoshita, and Claire Ashmead, Hathaway Brown School, OH External spacecraft materials degrade from radiation, thermal cycling, micrometeoroids/debris impacts, and atomic oxygen (AO) interaction. AO erosion of polymeric components poses a serious threat to spacecraft performance and durability; understanding AO erosion yield (Ey), volume loss per incident oxygen atom (cm3/atom), of polymers is essential for spacecraft applications. Effects of solar exposure on Ey are debated throughout the space community. This research addresses the AO erosion of commonly used spacecraft thermal control material aluminized-Teflon fluorinated ethylene propylene (AlFEP). To determine impacts of solar exposure on the degradation of AL-FEP, this study utilized AL-FEP bi-stem thermal shields (BSTS) exposed to the space environment for 8.25 years aboard Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The BSTS were wrapped around solar array poles such that half of the circular shield received direct solar exposure while the other half received very little. Ey of 16 HST BSTS samples were determined in a plasma asher. The average solar-facing Ey was 1.2 ? 10-24 cm3/atom while the average anti-solar Ey was 1.0 ? 10-24 cm3/atom, presenting a 20%-higher Ey for solar-facing samples. This data evidences that solar exposure cannot be overlooked when designing spacecraft components based on expected Ey. These results could considerably impact future spacecraft design considerations. Energy and Transportation A Simulation Using C++ to Evaluate the Performance of the Columbia University Non-Neutral Torus Stellarator Based on a Pedersen Model for Optimization Soo Kyoung (Joanna) Kim, Bronx High School of Science, NY The Columbia University Non-neutral Torus (CNT) is a stellarator built to study the equilibrium, stability, and transport of non-neutral plasmas confined on magnetic surfaces. CNT uses four circular, planar coils, two interlocking coils, and two poloidal field (PF) coils. CNT was redesigned through computer simulation to 30 NCSSSMST Journal
resemble the configuration of the original Pedersen prototype of 2002. This included two extra concentric PF coils which change the shape and volume of the magnetic surface. It was hypothesized that the confinement of plasma would be either enhanced or debilitated. The current that runs through the coils and the radii of the coils were varied. A C++ program was created to produce coordinates of the cross-section of magnetic field surfaces that were graphed by a Java program. Refurbishment created a larger confined volume possibly increasing confinement time or higher density plasmas. Possible applications include positron trapping and confinement of positron-electron plasma. Creation and study of the first earthbound positron-electron plasma is a future goal and relevant to fundamental plasma physics. CNT studies plasmas with extreme electric fields relevant for fusion research, which has the goal of clean energy. Results will be considered for design of a superconducting CNT to study positron-electron plasmas. Stress in the Pattern Garrett Hendrickson, The Governor’s School for Science and Technology, VA The project measured the stress levels of general aviation pilots in the closed-circuit traffic pattern. Five licensed general aviation pilots were outfitted with a wireless heart rate monitor and flew two closedcircuit traffic patterns. Through the duration of the test, notes were taken about visual indicators of stress displayed by the pilots. All pilots flew their trials in the same type aircraft, at the same airport, and in similar non-adverse weather conditions. The heart rate data collected was analyzed with a line graph, and the visual observations were recorded so conclusions could also be drawn in regards to stress levels in-flight. Because there are five legs to a closed-circuit traffic pattern, there were five independent variables: upwind (which includes takeoff), crosswind, downwind, base, and final (which includes landing). Both the graphs and visual observations of all pilots indicated most stress exists on the final leg.
Energy and Transportation
The Development and Testing of a Solar Hydrogen Electric Autonomous Buoyant Engineering: Electrical Micro-Power Plant (SHe- ABMPP) and Mechanical Kam Cheung Chan, Viktor Roytman, Alvin Zhang, Foaud Issa, and Mahmoud Abdeldayem, Brooklyn Technical High School, NY Large-scale renewable energy projects erupt in face of the petroleum crisis but portable power plants or generators still rely heavily on fossil fuels. A novel device was developed to address the tradeoff between economy and ecology. The solar hydrogen electric autonomous buoyant micro-power plant (SHe- ABMPP) combines three major concepts—solar power, hydromechanical power and hydrogen fuel cell technology— into one single modular system. A large stacked membrane electrode assembly (MEA) was designed and constructed based on a standard modular solar hydrogen reactor that uses Nafion as the material for the proton exchange membrane (PEM). The fabrication materials and methods were specified. Hypotheses made about the positive and negative work done by an MEA are extensively tested on the solar hydrogen reactor. The hypotheses are validated by observations as well as calculations. The SHe- ABMMP has been designed for use by marine biologists, aquatic veterinarians and aquatic rescue teams. Designing the Most Appropriate Thread to Be Produced in Developing Countries by Recycling HDPE Bags Smita Shylo, Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science at WPI High-density polyethylene (HDPE) consumer bags were recycled into thread suitable for fabric weaving. Several thread types (fibers) were made and compared to find the one most appropriate (based on strength, production ease, production efficiency, etc.) for manufacture in developing countries. An apparatus was constructed to measure tensile strength of the fibers, which were prepared by stretching and/or spinning four different widths of strips cut from HDPE bags. The breaking point of each fiber and the force that it withstood were recorded using an electronic gauge connected to a computer. This procedure was repeated thirty times for each combination of variables (width, stretch and/or spin). A design matrix was used to select the fiber most fitting for production in developing countries. Criteria included tensile strength, manufacturing time and bag percentage used. Samples of fabric were woven on INKLE and hand looms using the strongest fiber. Sewing attempts were made using this recycled bag fiber as the thread.
Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering
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Engineering: Materials Engineering and Optimizing a Petroleum Adsorbant Nanofiber and Bioengineering Ksenia Zakirova, Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, GA The properties of nanotechnology have been used to improve products ranging from medical delivery systems to increasingly smaller computer chips. The properties of polymer nanofibers, a type of nanotechnology, are ideal for making filters, where fibers with smaller surface-to-area ratios are more effective in attracting target material. The intention of this research was to manufacture a hydrophobic, cost-effective nanofiber that would adsorb petroleum products such as gasoline. Such filters would be instrumental in reducing stormwater pollution. Polyacrylonitrile was chosen because it provides a highyield hydrophobic nanofiber. The nanofibers were spun using electrospinning, because it is the most readily available process for creating nanofibers. After the procedures for spinning polyacrylonitrile were finalized, the voltage and polymer concentration were altered to see how they affected gasoline adsorption. The resulting nanofibers adsorbed on average 40 times their weight in gasoline. Thinner nanofiber layers adsorbed more petroleum than thick layers. However, polyacrylonitrile would not make a successful filter, because it did not adsorb a significantly smaller amount of water (F=1.565, d= 1, sig=0.225, p>0.05). Additionally, it is not cost effective: it costs $93.83 to adsorb 1L of gasoline. In future research, the cost will be decreased and other nanofibers will be tested for similar effects. Engineering: Materials Synthesizing and Analyzing Metal Alloy Quantum Dots and Bioengineering Eric Lee, Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School, MD Metallic nanoparticles, most notably gold and silver, portray multiple structural, optical, electronic, and photoelectric properties, all of which often vary with particle diameter. When synthesized as alloys, as compared to purely monometallic particles, changes in the synthesis procedure and conditions can yield entirely unique particles with variable absorbance levels, sizes, and emission intensities, and stronger characteristics much more suited for use in electronic applications. Through the use of solution-phase synthesis and replacement-reaction synthesis, this experiment generated both single element nanoparticles within the quantum range (<15nm in diameter), and alloy nanoparticles of gold and silver in aqueous solution. Through UV-Vis spectroscopy and spectrofluoroscopy the existence of an alloy metal was characterized through the presence of a single, combined absorbance and emission peak. Particle size analysis through dynamic light scattering and atomic force microscopy both concluded that alloy nanoparticles synthesized through replacement reactions resulted in an even size distribution of particles. These characteristics combined with the ability to modify particle size and resulting characteristics, makes this method of synthesis much more useful in a wide array of applications, including use in a solar cell. Environmental Management Greener Paper: Algaeâ€™s Other Great Potential II Jordan Cazamias, Conroe ISD Academy of Science and Technology, TX The purpose of this experiment was to determine how and to what degree adding filamentous algae to paper affects the paperâ€™s strength. Several types of algae/paper samples were created: pure filamentous algae samples, pure wood-fiber paper samples, and intermediate algae/paper mixtures. Samples were created by blending the algae and/or paper with water, then pressing and drying. A testing apparatus was constructed consisting of a base with a hole, over which each sample was fastened, and a lever with a block attached, which traveled through the sample as the lever was brought down. A force meter was used to measure the maximum force that the sample withstood before rupturing. Data were analyzed using a least-squares regression line. Findings indicated the mass percent of algae was negatively associated with the bursting strength while the total mass was positively associated with the bursting strength. The significance of this investigation lies in the fact that the equation derived from the regression line can be used to balance the reduction of wood fiber and the accompanying decrease the sampleâ€™s strength with total mass that is needed to compensate for the percentage of algae to maintain the burst strength of the sample.
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Evaluation of Hydraulic Conductivity from Grain Size Analysis and Slug Test Environmental Sciences in Araihazar, Bangladesh Ho Chit (Hosea) Siu, Bronx High School of Science, NY Arsenic in the groundwater in the region around Bangladesh and West Bengal is a major health concern in the region, where people depend on shallow aquifers from drinking water. The “flushing” of aquifers by withdrawal and recharge of groundwater gradually lowers arsenic concentrations in regions where aquifers have relatively high hydraulic conductivity. This study assessed hydraulic conductivity of shallow aquifers in Araihazar, Bangladesh at four sites through grain size analysis of samples from ~1-30 meters deep, followed by hydraulic conductivity calculation using the Hazen and Kozeny-Carmen models. These results were then compared to in-field slug testing at the same sites from previous studies. The samples’ elemental composition was then found by x-ray fluorescence. Predictions from the Kozeny-Carmen model were within an acceptable five-fold difference of slug test values, and provided 35% greater accuracy than the Hazen model. Elemental analysis showed high concentrations of trace metals near the surface, with concentrations decreasing with greater depth. Kozeny-Carmen modeling allows for higher spatial density hydraulic conductivity assessments that properly describe a highly heterogeneous aquifer - an advantage over slug testing. This may be used alongside elemental analyses to allow for easier aquifer assessments to find safe groundwater for people affected by groundwater poisoning. Medicine & Health Sciences Evaluation of a Standardized checklist Used During Surgical Procedures Andrea Castaldo and Ashley Czaplicki, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Preventable patient harm related to surgery, such as wrong-site procedures and patient misidentification, can occur due to a lack of communication and teamwork among hospital staff and physicians. In order to improve patient safety, through a goal of improved communication and teamwork, the University of Illinois Medical Center adopted the World Health Organization safe surgery checklist. The checklist includes two separate processes – a sign-in which occurs just after the patient enters the operating room and time-out just before surgical incision. The sign-in is facilitated by the anesthesiologist, and covers general patient and surgery information while the time-out, overseen by the attending surgeon, covers additional checkpoints, which include risk of blood loss and operative duration. During the observation of twenty-five surgeries in which the checklist document was used, the staff rarely engaged as a team and the quality of the intended time-out conversations decreased as the study progressed. Of note, a review of nursing documentation failed to identify the inadequacy of the expected engagement of the team. Our observations show that the checklist became more of a documentation task than an effective tool to reach the goal of improved patient safety-related communication. A Comparison of Arteriovenous Fistula and Arteriovenous Grafts Medicine & Health Sciences Soo Yu, The Advanced Science, Mathematics & Technology Academy at Kennesaw Mountain HS, GA Currently, an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is the primary procedure for those initiating long-term dialysis, specifically hemodialysis. However, the majority of AVFs have a low patency rate for long-term dialysis access. In this research, it was hypothesized that less than 50 percent of newly created AVFs were successful for long-term dialysis access. Data were collected through the Kennestone Hospital Vascular Institute’s medical database, Misys EMR. A one-proportional z-test was utilized in order to analyze and determine the percentage of successful AVFs for long-term dialysis access as well as failures. Experimental analysis indicated that approximately 43 percent of the 200 randomly selected AVF patients were able to successfully have their AVFs accessed by their physicians for long-term dialysis. An alpha of 0.05 was applied and a p-value of less than 0.05 meant that the null hypothesis was rejected in favor of the alternative. The results from this experiment suggest that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that less than 50 percent of the newly created AVFs were successful for long-term dialysis access at a 5 percent level of significance. Researchers or physicians may reference the outcome of this study for further investigations on the patency of AVFs.
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Microbiology Altering Lentiviral Tropism by Pseudotyping with Specific Receptor-Mediated Proteins Thomas Silver, Bergen County Academies, NJ The scientific community has no effective method of transporting genes to specific cells if a natural virus does not already exist. This experiment outlines a method of directing viruses to cell lineages of choice, via a modification of the process known as “pseudotyping,” which is the modification of proteins on the surface of enveloped viruses. Viruses are pseudotyped with proteins that bind to unique receptors on the cell lines that are to be infected. To prove the viability of pseudotyping, lentiviral particles expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) were pseudotyped with Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Protein G (VSV-G) and introduced to a gastric adenocarcinoma cell line (AGS) in vitro. After 24 hours, flow cytometry revealed that 48% of the AGS cells had been infected, in comparison to nonpseudotyped viruses, which only infected 10% of the cells. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the specific receptor-mediated protein pseudotyping concept, this experiment utilized pseudotyped lentiviruses with gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), a protein which attaches to GIP receptor (GIPR). GIPR is a receptor which is unique to pancreatic beta cells, and thus these viruses will specifically target those cells. This method can be applied to deliver genes to any cell line that has a unique receptor. Microbiology Growth of Microflora on Silicone Wristbands Devon Morris, Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology The purpose of this project was to determine if silicone rubber assisted in carrying microflora, thus supporting the spread of bacterial and yeast-related diseases. The study was conducted at a local high school in December 2009. In each of the three trials silicone wristbands were evaluated according to different levels of human contact (air contact, human contact with disinfections, and human contact without disinfection). Each wristband was placed in a 50ml centrifuge tube and vortexed for thirty seconds. Dilutions were then created according to the testing group (1:100 for all yeast tests and the air contact bacterial test and 1:10,000 for human contact with disinfections, and human contact without disinfection bacterial tests). The dilutions were run through a Millipore® filtration system. The filters were placed on Petri-pads soaked with specified broths, cultured, and counted. The results from two ANOVA tests show the two P values (6.14x10-7 for yeast and mold colonies and 3.83x10-4 for bacterial colonies) to be less than the set · value (0.05). The alternate hypothesis that not all means are equal was accepted. In conclusion, silicone rubber has a great effect in harboring microflora and is a possible agent for spreading disease. Physics and Astronomy Reducing the Computation Time of a N-Body Galactic Simulation Evan H. Fletcher, Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, MI This project was an investigation into methods for reducing the computation time of a galactic interaction simulation without sacrificing structural accuracy. The intent was to allow researchers to perform large simulations on systems more readily available than supercomputers. It was found that elimination of calculations between luminous masses (with compensation for said lost mass) generated a 98% reduction in computation time while maintaining the most accuracy of all other methods tested. A basic, brute-force simulation was implemented; this control includes a dark matter halo determined by an Einasto Profile, and defines luminous mass as small spheres governed by Shell Theorem. This approach reduces inaccuracies generated by other approaches and can better represent a galactic disk. An evaluative program, which computes differences in Gaussian convolutions between simulations, was written to enable comparison of vague structure between the tested methods and the control. Several modifications were made to the control; the computation time and the results of the evaluative program were recorded for each. It was found that a spherical approximation of luminous mass, coupled with a dark matter halo, produces the most accurate result of all tested variations and results in a computation time of 368.51s (compared to the control 19927.33s).
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Frequency and Energy of Dark Matter Annihilations Carter Huffman, Loudoun County Academy of Science, VA The existence, identity, and nature of dark matter are some of the most exciting and active topics in current astrophysics. Due to the interaction of dark matter with other matter through gravity, it can be assumed that dark matter particles would congregate around objects of large mass, such as a supermassive black hole. Some physicists assume that dark matter particles will annihilate upon collision with one another. Using numerical models, collision rates of dark matter particles orbiting around a supermassive black hole have been calculated based on currently accepted parameters of dark matter and the description of gravity provided by general relativity. A threshold on annihilation energies was assumed, meaning that the collisions between dark matter particles must attain a certain energy before the particles annihilate, or else they experience a normal elastic collision. The rate of annihilation was calculated, and an estimate of the amount of annihilation products (photons, neutrinos, etc.) was then calculated. The conclusions drawn may provide an alternative model for the behavior of dark matter around supermassive black holes and predict particle signals produced around these black holes.
Physics and Astronomy
Plant Sciences Is Collema sp., a Gelatinous Lichen, a Sustainable Source of Nitrogen for Greenhouse and Nursery Crop Production? Clarice Esch, Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky Atmospheric fixation of nitrogen by terrestrial cyanobacteria is important in â€œsoil crustsâ€? of arid land ecosystems worldwide. In the absence of soil, organic matter, and nitrogen-fixing legumes or other higher plants, they are the primary vehicle for the introduction of nitrogen in these habitats. While some cyanobacteria dwell in soil crust matrices, others are symbionts with a fungus forming a lichen, which live above the soil line. The gelatinous lichen, Collema sp., is native to Warren County, Kentucky inhabiting bare soil. During periods of sufficient soil moisture and humidity, it fixes nitrogen and photosynthesizes and its appearance is altered from a dry, hard flake to hydrated, swollen, and jelly-like. This study suggested that Collema sp., can be utilized as a partial replacement for nitrogen fertilizer in greenhouse and nursery crops where it would inhabit the surface of the potting media and contribute nitrogen continuously at each watering event. Using a combination of half strength fertilizer with Collema sp., a significant increase in the dry weight of our crop was found. Continuing studies involve anatomical analysis as well as observations of growth rate and potentially reproduction. Immunocompetence as a Predictor of Dominance in the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Zoology Kayla Broeker, South Carolina Governorâ€™s School for Science and Mathematics Male Madagascar hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) frequently engage in antagonistic intra-sexual encounters. A dominant male would require high immunocompetence to cope with the stress and energy expenditure required to gain and hold his status. This study investigated the relationship between behavioral factors and total hemocyte counts to determine if immunocompetence is a reliable predictor of dominance. Six males were individually isolated from a common colony. Pairs were pitted against each other in a round-robin tournament. Behaviors of the males were observed and recorded, then used to calculate a group hierarchy based on the percentage of time allotted to dominant, submissive, or neutral behaviors per male. Males were assigned ranks from most dominant to most submissive. The hemocyte count of each male was used to examine the association between immunocompetence and social ranking. No significant results were found due to small sample size. Future research will incorporate mate choice to see if dominance benefits not only the male with increased immunocompetence, but also provides a fitness advantage to the female. Females will be allowed to choose between either a dominant or submissive male. The resulting offspring will be analyzed to determine whether immunocompetence and subsequent social status is heritable.
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Institutional and Associate Members
Members as of May 15, 2010 *Associate schools in planning stages **Affiliate School Membership
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Alabama Alabama School of Fine Arts - Russell Science Center Alabama School of Mathematics & Science Arkansas Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts California California Academy of Mathematics & Science Connecticut Science & Technology Magnet HS of Southeast Connecticut Delaware The Charter School of Wilmington Florida Center for Advanced Technologies Crooms Academy of Information Technology Mariner High School - Mathematics, Science and Technology MAST Academy Middleton High School Georgia Academy of Mathematics, Science & Technology at Kennesaw Mountain HS Academy of Research and Medical Sciences at South Cobb HS North Springs High School Math/Science Magnet Program Rockdale Magnet School For Science and Technology The Center for Advanced Studies at Wheeler High School The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Idaho Treasure Valley Mathematics & Science Center Illinois Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy Wheeling High School* Indiana Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics & Humanities Kentucky The Carol Martin Gatton Academy for Mathematics & Science in Kentucky Louisiana Louisiana School for Math, Science & the Arts Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy Massachusetts Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics & Science Maine Maine School of Science and Mathematics Maryland Blair Science, Mathematics,Computer Science Magnet Program Eleanor Roosevelt Science and Technology Center Oxon Hill Science & Technology Center Poolesville High School Magnet Program Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen Science and Technology Center at Charles Herbert Flowers High School Michigan Battle Creek Area Mathematics & Science Center Berrien County Mathematics & Science Center Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology Kalamazoo Area Mathematics & Science Center Lakeshore HS Math/Science Center Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences Macomb Mathematics, Science & Technology Center Mecosta-Osceola Math/Science/Technology Center Utica Center for Math, Science and Technology Williamston High School - Math and Science Academy Mississippi Mississippi School for Mathematics & Science Missouri Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing
New Jersey Academy of Allied Health & Science Bergen County Academies Dwight Englewood School High Technology High School Marine Academy of Science & Technology Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science Morris County Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Red Bank Regional HS Academy of Information Technology & Finance Union County Magnet High School New York Brooklyn Technical High School High School for Math, Science and Engineering at The City College Manhasset High School Staten Island Technical School High School Stuyvesant High School The Bronx High School of Science North Carolina North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics Ohio Hathaway Brown School Metro Early College High School Oklahoma Great Plains Technology Center** Oklahoma School of Science & Mathematics Pennsylvania Downington Area School District* South Carolina Dutch Fork High School South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics Spartanburg County School District Six* Spring Valley High School Tennessee School for Science & Math at Vanderbilt** Tennessee Governor’s Academy for Mathematics & Science Texas Academy for Science & Health Professions Conroe ISD Conroe ISD Academy of Science & Technology John Jay Science & Engineering Academy Liberal Arts and Science Academy of Austin at LBJ HS Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science NUAMES SUCCESS Academy Virginia Albemarle High School Math, Engineering & Science Academy Bayside High School Health Sciences Academy Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine & Environmental Science LCPS Academy of Science Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Govt. and International Studies New Horizons Gov. School for Science and Technology Ocean Lakes High School Mathematics & Science Academy Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science and Technology Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Science & Technology Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Southwest VA Governor’s School for Science, Mathematics & Technology The Mathematics & Science High School at Clover Hill Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology Washington Camas Academy of Math and Science
Affiliate Members Andrews University Aurora University Babson College Brown University Carleton College Carnegie Mellon University - Undergraduate Admission Office Case Western Reserve University Center for Talent Development Northwestern University Clark University Clarkson University Colorado School of Mines Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art Drexel University College of Engineering Drexel University Office of Admission Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Emory University Ferris State University Florida Institute of Technology Georgetown University Department of Biology Georgia Institute of Technology (Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing - CEISMC) Global Public Service Academies Harvey Mudd College Illinois Institute of Technology Illinois Wesleyan University James Madison University Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions Kettering University Keystone Science School Lehigh University Long Island University/CW Post Campus Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mercer University Missouri University of Science and Technology Morehouse College Morgan State University Neumont University New College of Florida New Jersey Institute of Technology New Mexico Tech North Carolina Central University North Carolina State University Oglethorpe University Ohio Wesleyan University Oklahoma City University Olin College of Engineering Pace University Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems Polytechnic Institute at NYU Purdue University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rochester Institute of Technology Santa Clara University Siemens Foundation Society for Science & the Public Stevens Institute of Technology Stony Brook University The City College of The City University of New York The College Board The Jackson Laboratory The Ohio State University Biomedical Science Major The University of Alabama in Huntsville The University of British Columbia Tufts University
University of Arkansas University of Miami, College of Engineering University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science & the Arts University of Pennsylvania University of Tampa University of Tennessee University of the Sciences in Philadelphia University of Virginia US Coast Guard Academy Vanderbilt University Villanova University Virginia Tech Webb Institute Westminster College Worcester Polytechnic Institute Yale University
Membership as of May 15, 2010
Affiliates converse about the success of the â€œreverse college fairâ€? at the 2010 Nashville Professional Conference.
Thank you to Pete Rustan, Ph.D., Director of Mission Support Directorate National Reconnaissance Office for his presentation at the 2010 Nashville Professional Conference. Left to right: Dr. Cheryl Lindeman, NCSSSMST Executive Director, Dr. Rustan, Dennis Lundgren, NCSSSMST Past President and plenary facilitator, and Karen Pikula, incoming NCSSSMST President.
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About NCSSSMST The National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology (NCSSSMST) was established in 1988 to serve educators and students in the growing number of specialized high schools throughout the United States. NCSSSMST is a forum and clearinghouse for the exchange of information and program ideas among faculty, staff, and students from member schools and affiliated organizations. The Consortium comprises a network of research and development secondary schools with strong college and university affiliate members. NCSSSMST membership is extended o public and private secondary schools, colleges and universities, organizations, summer programs and individuals whose primary interests are congruent with the mission of the Consortium. As of May 2010, the 100 member schools and centers located in 29 states enroll more than 40,000 students. Each member school addresses specific needs of its area, and most serve districts or states, depending on their charter. Over 110 colleges and universities, organizations, foundations and summer programs are members and participate in program-related activities or sponsor special events. NCSSSMST is a nonprofit organization with IRS 501(C)(3) tax-exempt status and is incorporated as a non-stock corporation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. NCSSSMST Vision The Consortium will serve as a catalyst for transforming education by empowering students, teachers, and communities to meet the demands of a technologically advanced world. NCSSSMST Mission The mission of NCSSSMST, the nation’s alliance of secondary schools and programs preparing students for success and leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is to serve our members’ students and professionals, to foster collaborations, to inform STEM policy, and to advocate transformation in education. Membership Membership Categories Revised March 2010 Institutional Membership — This category is open to specialized secondary schools or schools with specialized centers located in the U.S., that have nonprofit status and whose primary objectives congruent with the Consortium’s mission. The Consortium Board has the responsibility to determine that the rigor of the school applying for membership is comparable to the current institutional members. Institutional members have additional benefits beyond all other membership categories including voting privleges. Associate Membership — This category is for the following types of schools that have nonprofit status and whose primary objectives congruent with the Consortium’s mission: emerging schools designing to become specialized schools or specialized cetners; schools redesigning to become specialized secondary schools; schools designing or redesigning to have specialized centers; schools designing to become specialized secondary schools or have specialized centers; schools that operate virtually; schools outside the United States and middle schools. Affiliate Membership — This category includes the following types that have demonstrated interest in and support for the Consortium: colleges and universities; summer programs; governmental agencies and private businesses, associations, and nonprofit organizations. Individual Membership — This category includes the following types that have demonstrated an interest in and support for the Consortium: professional educator employed by an institutional, associate or affiliate member who seeks access to member resources or professional educator not employed by a Consortium member organization but whose work may further the mission of NCSSSMST. Corporation Contact Information NCSSSMST, PO box 4648, Lynchburg, VA 24502; 434-582-1104; FAX 434-384-0928; www.ncsssmst.org
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National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology
NCSSSMST National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology
3020 Wards Ferry Road Lynchburg, VA 24502
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Published on Jan 12, 2011
Published on Jan 12, 2011
Spring 2010 Volume 15, Issue 2 www.nagc.org/NAGC2/users/NCSSSMST Join us as we lead the charge: educators, Registration will be for both con...